Wednesday, July 28, 2004

I Flunked Photography 101

This may not have been the best background for a family picture.
Bad Word
Originally uploaded by wonderbread74.

Kerry To Tap Springsteen Song For Campaign

Apparently, a candidate's acceptance speech at national convention also includes the unveiling of a campaign theme song. In 1992, Bill Clinton famously reinvigorated Fleetwood Mac's "Don't Stop Thinking About Tomorrow". What song will Kerry choose?

Salon.com's Eric Boehlert suggests that John Kerry will enter the Fleet Center in Boston to Bruce Springsteen's "No Surrender".

The band of brothers-sounding anthem matches well with the Kerry campaign's focus on military service.

On a personal level, I remember this song as one the few Springsteen tunes my sister enjoyed singing.

Here are the lyrics:

NO SURRENDER
We busted out of class had to get away from those fools
We learned more from a three minute record than we ever learned in school
Tonight I hear the neighborhood drummer sound
I can feel my heart begin to pound
You say you're tired and you just want to close your eyes and follow your dreams down

We made a promise we swore we'd always remember
No retreat no surrender
Like soldiers in the winter's night with a vow to defend
No retreat no surrender

Now young faces grow sad and old and hearts of fire grow cold
We swore blood brothers against the wind
I'm ready to grow young again
And hear your sister's voice calling us home across the open yards
Well maybe we could cut someplace of our own
With these drums and these guitars

Blood brothers in the stormy night with a vow to defend
No retreat no surrender

Now on the street tonight the lights grow dim
The walls of my room are closing in
There's a war outside still raging
you say it ain't ours anymore to win
I want to sleep beneath peaceful skies in my lover's bed
with a wide open country in my eyes
and these romantic dreams in my head

Sharpton 'Rides That Donkey' To Boston

MSNBC portrayed Reverend Al as a side show

The talking heads on MSNBC's coverage of the Democratic National Convention behaved in a utterly disgraceful, nearly racists manner towards Rev. Al Sharpton's speech tonight.

Hardball's Chris Matthews and Howard Fineman assailed Sharpton's speech even before it was given. They said he had no business being there, had no constituency and was unelected.

Fineman is a journalist known for scooping the Monica Lewinsky scandal from, a then, unknown internet gossip site named The Drudge Report and owes his punditry to that fact. Fineman described Sharpton as something of a joke. "He didn't win a primary. He showed up for debates; was quick-witted, funny and entertaining."

Was Fineman describing some sort of circus clown or court jester? Black people are only good for sports and music?

Sharpton's speech was sensational. Not only did he speak directly to African-Americans, but also to the base. His zingers excited the crowd and had me cheering. He was visibly outraged by comments President Bush made last Friday, questioning the Democrat true zeal for the welfare of African-Americans.

"We were promised 40 acres and a mule. We're still waiting for the 40 acres and still haven't got mule. So we're going ride this donkey all the way to the White House."

MSNBC, then chose to cut into speech, further denigrating Sharpton. Matthews mused that Sharpton's career began on a lie, by accusing New York cops of raping a young black girl which was later found to be untrue. MSNBC proceeded to cut back to a shot of Sharpton screaming, but without sound. It gave the impression of a stark-raving mad lunatic at the podium.

Whether he's a clown or a charletan, the fact remains that Sharpton says exactly what African-Americans and many Democrats believe; that the Republican party shows utter contempt for their plight. How else could Sharpton get away with saying if it were up to Republicans back in the 50's, Clarence Thomas wouldn't have even made it to law school!

91% of African-Americans voted against George W. Bush in 2000. Still, the most amazing statistic that I have ever seen. 9 out of 10 of a group of people voted against a candidate and it's very likely the same numbers will pull the lever for Kerry in November.

African-Americans do not vote in high numbers. It is imperative, given the certainty of democratic votes, that this party get as many African-Americans to the polls as possible.

Besides, are there any another African-American statesman out there? Therein lies the real problem. The lack of any cultivation of African-American leaders in America. Barack Obama, we're waiting for you.




Media Chumps Say BOO!

FBI says "deadly" ricin found in baby food

All the media outlets and our dear ol' local news reported that ground-up castor beans were found in jars of baby food. The deadly toxin, ricin is derived from castor beans and readily available on many farms or even in the wild.

The media said "BOO!"

Check out what was wrtitten after the headline and opening paragraph:

U.S. Food and Drug Administration officials who tested the baby food said the ricin was not in the purified form that can be deadly. Rather, it was a less toxic, natural component of the castor beans.

"It's unlikely there would be serious injury with the level of castor bean found in those two jars we tested," said Dr. David Acheson, chief medical officer with the FDA's Center for Food, Safety and Applied Nutrition.

Small amounts of the food were eaten, but the babies had no symptoms, he said.

Like Bob Dylan wrote, "There's no reason to get excited." Besides, I thought most parents feed their kids McDonald's, anyway.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Tuesday Morning Junk Drawer

News and Notes from around the Major Leagues

Prosecutors are accusing Michael Jackson of imprisoning his accuser and family at the Neverland Ranch. Court documents called Jackson’s co-conspirators “henchmen”, hirelings” and “thugs.” Michael later corrected the prosecution by calling them by their correct names, “The Elephant Man", "Bubbles the Chimp", “The One-Eyed Monster” and “Mr. Happy.”  (Remember to click on the links)

The people of Boston are really excited by John Kerry and the convention in their city. The Republican National Convention starts next month in New York. Bostonians think this is the year they finally beat New York.


This month's Martha Stewart Living has a nice recipe for a sweet, but pungent summertime favorite, Jailhouse Pruno (click for the recipe). It's a good thing.

I was shopping on MarthaStewart.com, for $49.95 she's offering Pall Mall cigarettes in a limited edition decorative plywood box. Perfect for that uncle with class and also on the brink of emphysema.

Enrique Iglesias is reportedly teaching his girlfriend, tennis star Anna Kournikova, how to speak spanish. Her first sentence: "Yo suck at Tenis, pero mi culo es perfecto! Si?" Si, Anna.

Kirstie Alley is set to star in a new sitcom called "Fat Actress." Like all actresses Kirstie starved herself for the role.

Rule #4: Ask the Alameda Question

Take your girl to Alameda for no apparent reason. Feign that you’re lost and see if she can direct you around the island. If she can’t. Keep her! If she can or even proclaims to know Alameda like the back of her hand, well, then, be wary.

Since Alameda use to be a naval base, good money says she use to troll the area for midshipmen. More anchors have been dropped in her than Pier 39.

In this case, don't support the troops.

Sunday, July 25, 2004

Thank you, Eck

I’ve come to realize that the late 80s and early 90s will forever been remembered as the great, nostalgic times of my life.

There were no worries. No bills to pay. No girlfriends to drive me mad. I could eat 5 cheeseburger and not have any consequences. There was only baseball. Thinking about it all day. Watching the games on television. Spending countless hours recreating the games on my Strat-O-Matic game board. Remember the The National? The first all-sports daily newspaper in the U.S. The boxscores even including a little scorecard of the game.

How happy was I to seeDennis Eckersley inducted into the baseball Hall of Fame yesterday. The memories of his dominance as an Oakland Athletics' reliever brought me back to 1988.

He looks now and he did then as somebody straight out of a 70s discotheque. His long, straight, brown hair and Burt Reynolds-type mustache looked no different in 2004 than it did in 1978 when he threw a no-hitter for the Cleveland Indians.

Lon Simmons, said yesterday, that baseball is a national game played at a local level. The beautiful thing about baseball is the passing of memories down to another generation of fans. We all remember the well-known highlights, but the innocuous memories are what make the game magical and passing them on almost spiritual.

Do you remember Dickie Scott? (He played 10 games, I think) Remember when Rick Fox hit that homer against Minnesota? Didn’t they trade Jose Rijo for Rickey Henderson?

How am I going to explain to my son or my nephews how dominant Dennis Eckersley was as a reliever? They can read the stats: 197 wins, 390 saves and allowed only three walks in an ENTIRE season, but the aura of the Eck walking to the mound in the ninth inning is hard to describe in words. Let me try.

The game was over when he made the walk from the bullpen to the mound. His intimidation had nothing to do with his physical stature but by the aggressiveness of his heart.

He pitched those ninth innings like a na├»ve teenage pitcher would dream of. First pitch strike. Second pitch: weak foul. Third pitch: a feeble swing and a miss. Sit down! It was like he was throwing magic. His pitches didn’t seem have much mustard nor did his slider have much slide, but when he was done with you, he told you to sit down like an adult chastising a child and the child didn’t dare mess with the Eck. The ubiquitous point and stare at the downtrodden hitter followed by a quick twirl of his index finger pointing him to the direction of his seat on the bench. Oddly, very few opposing hitters took offense to this gesture. They were too baffled by this guy with wild, flowing hair making quick work of them.

The Eck’s dominance might have stemmed from the fact that he had mastered the craft of pitching. How else could a pitcher threw just 3, 4 and 9 walks in consecutive whole seasons. That’s masterful. That’s genius! No wonder he had an un-Godly 0.61 earned run average in 1989. How could a hitter perform when the other guy could throw exactly where he wanted to and when he wanted to? He was something every kid wanted to emulate.

I recall watching a game on television when the A’s color commentator, Ray Fosse, noticed that Eck pitched with one eye close. What?! Sure enough, closer examination showed that indeed, the Eck closed his right eye when delivering his pitch. No wonder he had such control. He was like a champion dart thrower hitting the bullseye at will. Surely, there were many broken windows in many streets and parks due to one-eyed flame-throwers imitating the amazing Eck. I know I did. And you know what, it worked! It did feel like you could hit any location that you wanted.

Wait, I know what you’re thinking. Don’t even try to compare the Eck to the Los Angeles Dodgers’ stopper, Eric Gagne. Not the same. First off, the Eck didn’t need the scoreboard blaring “Game Over” when walked to the mound. Second, the Eck played on good time with more important chances on the line and third, the Eck scared hitters, not because he was big, crazy looking and/or threw heat, but because he was so good.

It was a pleasure watching you all those years

Thanks, Eck.

Friday, July 23, 2004

Remembering Suzie

Every year that passes from Suzie’s death brings same emotions and memories but without the sorrow. Maybe that's what you call healing. Two years ago, today, we lost Suzie and gained a new perspective on ourselves.

A few days ago, I read a quote from Elizabeth Edwards, she’s the wife of the Democratic nominee for vice-president, John Edwards. Eight years ago, the Edwards’ teen-age son was killed in a car accident. Elizabeth Edwards said in reference to the tragedy, “the good thing about it is that it allows you to start over.”

That quote took me by surprise. It sounded so callous. Maybe it was my bias, knowing that at age 48, she gave birth to two more children after the loss of her son. Did two new children easily replace her son?

The more I thought about what she said, the more it made sense. These weren’t off-handed remarks or words taken out of context, these were words of someone who confronted tragedy head on, dealt with death in a manner that made her own life better. I not sure you can truly appreciate that quote if you haven’t swam in those deepest of dark waters. To know the specifics of the hurt and loss and then have courage to move on is truly heroic. There are some of us who have begun to show that same heroism.

It is widely known that my Dad had, at least outwardly, the hardest time coping with the loss of Suzie, but he might have been the first to reflect the notion of starting fresh.

I remember first hearing of the plans to sell his house in Castro Valley—the house we grew up in—and feeling very much against it. His rationale was that he relived memories of Suzie in every room and, by extension it became a haunted house for him. I thought why would you want to forget those memories? But, in fact, it has nothing to do with forgetting, but starting anew.

He has since moved to a new home in Tracy and for the first time he’s actually contemplating hanging a picture of Suzie in his house, although, maybe a little too large of a photo. Some might call it a mural. But hey, why not start big?

For my Mom, who was probably the most adjusted and most heroic of us who were effected by the loss of Suzie, the changes are more subtle, possibly less starting new and more starting over.

My mother can adapt and find the bright side of any situation. It’s a trait I believe I have learned from her. She never sought or accepted anybody’s pity. She accepted the outcome of Suzie’s illness and together we continued traditions and created new ones. All the while, sprinkling in timely memories of Suzie, just enough to add to any occasion, but not too much to overpower everyone. Much like the Sunday dinners we use to have.

One of the most amazing developments following the passing of Suzie was the reuniting of my Mom and my Grandmother. Without any doubt in my mind, I can say that their coming together would have been the happiest thing Suzie could ever imagine.

Today, my Mom and Jack visit my grandmother for dinner most every Friday, including tonight and they talk without any animosity. As oppose to my Dad, going backward helped the healing begin for my Mom.

I believe the hardest job was placed in Mark’s lap. In regards to the life Sean and Luke have without their mother, I want to be very candid in giving this praise to Mark. I have yet to see any occasion where Mark’s decisions have ever deviated from anything Suzie would have done for those kids. I knew my sister better than anyone. I knew what she stood for and I know precisely what she would have wanted for her kids.

Everybody knows Sean and Luke would be playing baseball as soon as they possibly could and that, at least we hoped, that they would become happy and loving little boys. Turns out we were right. I know she is very happy with the job Mark has done and we are indebted to his parenting skills.

For myself, I’ve made similar changes in my life. I’ve moved to my own apartment and I’ve been a part of my Mom and Grandmother’s reunification and I spend more time with my Dad than when he lived a few miles away from me. More so, the changes are in my attitude.

I’ve always been a worrywart. Obsessively fretting over a litany of scenarios.

“What am I going to do with me life?”

“When am I going to graduate from college?”

When, what, who, how come, whatever!

The old adage, “whatever doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger” seems to fit me now. I don’t worry anymore and, at the same time, I’m not even close to indifferent. My perspective is completely different. I see problems, perceived or not, as small, if not life threatening; easily worked out or adaptable.

You know, maybe it’s just the natural procession of maturity. And God knows that I have the gray hairs to show for it.

I like to think of her passing as a call to all that says there is so much to do in our lives and so little time. Don't waste it.

So, today, I ask for everyone to take a moment to remember Suzie as a sister, a daughter, a mother, a cousin, a niece or as a friend and know that her love continues to help us even in death.

Don’t forget to call your brothers and sisters today.

Thursday, July 22, 2004

The Sun is Racist

Report shines light on discriminatory star

The Congressional Black Caucus issued a report today asserting that global warming causes African-Americans disportionately more harm than white. I guess, Michael Jackson was way ahead of his time.

The report also suggests that our Sun is racist:

The most direct health effect of climate change will be intensifying heat
waves that selectively impact poor and urban populations," according to the
study, noting cities like New York, Detroit, Chicago and Philadelphia have
large concentrations of blacks.

Here to confront these charges is the Sun, himself.

LFR: Good morning.
Sun: Yello.
LFR: Would you like to respond to these charges from the Congressional Black Caucus?
Sun: Sure would. They're right. I am racist. I plead guilty. Bro, I'm the Sun. I'm unchecked in this galaxy. Who's gonna stop me and I love George Bush
LFR: This is quite a disclosure on your part.
Sun: Well, I noticed those Enron guys going to jail and I want no part--not in an election year.
LFR: Election year? What do you mean? Were you somehow involved in the Enron scandal?
Sun: Well, you know it's no secret that George W. are buddies. We use to play basketball together. Me, Kenny Boy Lay, Jeffrey Skillings, Frankie Valli and the Asian guy from "Gung Ho".
LFR: Really? Was the President good?
Sun: Nah, I burned his ass all the time.
LFR: So, global warming is, indeed, a scientific fact. Correct?
Sun: That's a negative, at least, until after the election. Hey bro, I'm big in the sky but I revolve around Karl Rove. I believe they're going to shut down all sunlight to the Earth the day before the election and have Georgie flick me back on. That f**king guy loves being the hero and I love being a scapegoat.
LFR: Now you're a scapegoat?
Sun: Oh, yeah bro, I'm a sun of a bitch. Anything to make money, you know. I'm connected. I'm a minority owner of the Miami Heat basketball team. Shaq guaranteed a title next season. We'll see. I also dabble in suntan lotion, solar power, George Hamilton's agent, sun-dried tomatoes and Tupperware. I'm currently collaborating with the Moon on some "Sun and Moon" crap. You know, bed spreads, towels, shower curtains, cheap Chinese made crap. Wal-Mart wants in on the action. F**k 'em. They're low-balling me.
LFR: Tupperware? Anything else?
Sun: I love J.Lo, bro. Why? Because the shade under his ass is just about the only place I've never been! But, guess who has?
LFR: Who?
Sun: P Diddy.

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

LFR Weekly Reader

Compulsory Reading for the Beach

With the Democratic National Convention convening next Monday, the current issue of The New Yorker has a feature on Illinois state senator Barack Obama.

A raising star in the Democratic party, Obama; yes, it is a little too similar to Osama, nonetheless, he's a politician to keep an eye on.

Remember, around this time four years ago, the party's future prospect was a freshman senator from North Carolina nobody had heard about. His name? John Edwards.

Cheney's dismal running of Halliburton
We've all heard about Dick Cheney's ties to Halliburton and how they suggest the presence of a conflict of interest. But the media has never given an account of the job Uncle Dick performed at Halliburton. This Salon.com story illustrates Halliburton as being poorly run by then CEO Richard Cheney.

Other Blogs of Note
The empire is expanding. Here's are some of the children my blog has spawned.
popsplace.blogspot.com
jaytray.blogspot.com

(Editor's Note: Be sure to click on the links, especially ones in reference to a person. The pics are sometimes not what you expect.)

The Curse of the Portugee

Gold Glove infielders career nosedives after messing with me

This is a cautionary tale to all athletes who over-step their bounds with me.

Readers of this blog know by now of my problems with my upstairs neighbor and Oakland Raider, Doug Gabriel. Many don't know that this is not the first time an athlete has deliberately crossed me. Come with me to another time.

Picture it. Oakland Coliseum. 1998. I'm working part-time as an usher for the Oakland Athletics. On this night, the powerhouse New York Yankees were visiting for a three-game series. I was working near the pressbox which, incidentally, linked up with both clubhouses. The Yankees beat the A's that night and about 30 minutes after the game some Yankee players started trickling out to the team bus. One of the last players were Derek Jeter and Chuck Knoblauch.

I noticed Jeter and cooly greeted him with a nodding of the head and he reciprocated. Jeter and Knoblauch then stroll to the elevator and just as the doors begin to close I hear Knoblauch, the short and stocky middle infielder, turn to Jeter and say, "don't you hate when they kiss your ass?"

I was livid and still am to this day. What a bastard! I never liked Chuck Knoblauch as a player anyway. In the late eighties, his Minnesota Twins seemed to always be neck and neck with my A's. He was the pesky kind of player that you hate to have play against your team.

My head nod to Jeter was barely friendly and Knoblauch's reading of it so incorrect and so brutally off the mark that something needed to be done.

I put a curse on Chuck Knoblauch.

A curse that effectively turned a Gold Glove second basemen and perennial .300 hitter into a bumbling, error-prone .250 hitter.

Take a look at the stats:

In 1998, Knoblauch hit, a then career low, .265. It was the beginning of a career slide that would render him a designated hitter. Why? Because my curse obliterated his defensive skills so badly that neither the Yankees or the Kansas City Royals had no idea where to put this head-case on the field.

In 1997, with Minnesota, Knoblauch won the Gold Glove for best defensive second basemen in the American League, by 1999 he committed 26 errors. It was widely known that, like Steve Sax in the 80s, that something strange had happened to Chuck Knoblauch.

Like Sax, Chuck Knoblauch seemingly forgot how to make the throw from second to first. Sometimes he would bobble the ball and throw it wildly into the dirt, sometimes he would just calmly fire it into the stands. The Yankees gave up on him at second and stuck him in left field and DH.

He retired in 2002 not knowing that some guy in California smacked a whammy on his head. Now, to Doug Gabriel. Just last night I placed a curse on the Raiders wide receiver.

We'll track how he does this next season, granted, how far can a dude with one career catch in the NFL fall? Oh, you'll be surprised.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

The Beat Goes On...

The Administration continues to reinvent all their past mistakes .

Associated Press reports that the FBI has began searching for clues regarding the anthrax mailings that killed 5 and sickened 17 in 2001. You might remember them as the spice added to all the post-9/11 hysteria.

The mailings conveniently hit the eastern seaboard weeks after the 9/11 attack. Law enforcement also failed to come up with any leads or suspects in the case.

So, the disinformation log reads like this: within a day, Iraq inquired about uranium in Niger, therefore, see, Saddam must of had WMD. Sandy Berger is sticking 9/11 memo's in his pant; he must be hiding something, therefore, the attack was Clinton's fault. Now, the war president is cracking down (givng the impression of) on anthrax evil-doers. My hero

Next up: the Iraqi prisoners beat themselves, the election in Florida was won by Bush on account of "new math" and Harold Baines for Sammy Sosa really worked out better for the Bush-owned Texas Rangers.





Is That a Memo In Your Pants or Are You Just Happy to See Me

Sen. John Kerry's National Security Adviser, Sandy Berger, is being accused of stuffing classified memo's regarding 9/11 down his pants.

Reportedly a security guard confronted Berger and said, "is that a record in your pants", Berger said, "I don't know, but I'm happy with it."

President Clinton had no comment on the matter.

In a related story, KFC is accused of choking their chickens.

History being Re-Written

Those infamous 16 words in President Bush's State of the Union, ahhh, could they turn out to be true? An AP story reports that British intelligence believes Iraq, indeed, sought uranuim yellowcake from Niger.

In the four stories, I've read on this development, nowhere has anyone mentioned that the impetus for Joe Wilson to discredit the attempt to obtain uranium was forged documents.

Now, the operative word, is sought. Did Iraq seek yellowcake uranium from Niger? I suppose it's possible they did, but the suggestion the Bush administration made was that they did more than seek, but obtained the uranium.

Have they done enough to pester the former ambassador, Joe Wilson? Not only did they "out" his undercover CIA spouse, but Sen. Pat Roberts asserts that Wilson received the assignment because of nepotism and provided "inaccurate, unsubstantiated and misleading information."

I sense, today, that the Bush adminstration has changed their strategy for the last four months of this campaign. We should begin to see a slow trickle of evidence to seems contrary to all the hits this Adminstration has suffered from--the uranium claim, Abu Ghraib, WMD and not to mention, capturing Osama.

My intuition was bolstered by news stories regarding possible al-Qaeda ties to Iran. They sound eerily similar to the case that they slowly built up for invading Iraq. It would make for a wonderful smoke screen to this campaign. Tying Sen. Kerry's hands to any political point regarding the "war on terrorism".

Monday, July 19, 2004

Monday Morning Junk Drawer

After a deadly fire at a schoolhouse in India, the state government announced the banning of thatched roofs at schools. In a related story, Donald Trump will no longer outsource his toupee to India.

The anger towards President Bush seems to stick with people even into death. The San Francisco Chronice ran an obituary in June for Eva Kavin. She was 89. The last line of her obituary read as such: "Eda's memory can be honored by supporting an artist or by helping to unelect 'that damn Bush.' Eda thanks you."

I'm going to miss Eva. I use to call her "Gums McGee", but that's another story. I truly loved her. She was a good women. I will do everything I can to make her last wish come true.

Marion Jones, U.S. track star and accused steriod user, has qualified only for the long jump in next month's Olympic games. I'm not sure for women, but for men, the only drug useful for the long jump would seem to be Viagra.

My neighbor, Doug Gabriel's career statistics: 1 reception for 17 yards. Possible comeback lines if problems persist. "What's up bro! Dude, you only have one more reception in the NFL than my mama or my bald-headed Granny!".

Had a meeting this morning and the janitor strolls through it carrying ass gaskets--those paper toliet seat covers.

I've located evil in America. Watch out for my posting on the current rising son of a biatch in the Repuglican party, Kansas Senator Pat Roberts. Don't be surprised if he isn't appointed to the vacated CIA post after Emperor Bush steals the election. More coming.

Apparently, Raider wide receiver, Doug Gabriel has a blog online telling his friends and family about his downstairs neighbor who works at a bank. The item is sandwiched around a posting detailing Rich Gannon's visit to his apartment and the pass routes he ran in his living room. Ahhh, explains much, Grasshoppah.

Finally....The A's honored their 1974 World Series team on Saturday. Amongst the former players was 1972 World Series MVP, Gene Tenace. Coincidently, he is mentioned in Will Ferrell's new movie, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy. Also mentioned in the film: whale vagina.

Sunday, July 18, 2004

LFR EXCLUSIVE!!! He...Could...Go...All...The...Way!

Some of you might know that I've had an awful time with my upstairs neighbor. About a month ago I complained to the front office about the incessant noise from above. It sounded like kids running around the apartment until midnight each evening.

One night I just couldn't take it anymore and I started banging the ceiling with a broom. Around 11:30 at night, the bell rings and it's this big, burly African-American man with short dreads. Sort of like the Miami Dolphins running back, Ricky Williams. He had the audacity to confront ME about the racket I was making on his floor. Apparently I was waking up his son.

The next day I spoke with the front office and they were compassionate. They told me they knew the tenant and, indeed, his kids were staying with him for a couple of weeks. They also said that he splits time between two apartments.

After that I never heard a sound from above until last Wednesday night. Since then, there has been a hip-hop party on the 3rd floor each night. Constant stomping, screaming, thumping and an occasional booming crash "entertain" my evenings, from around nine to 1am each night.

This afternoon, I again spoke to the front office about the worsening situation. I may move to another unit if it's a lateral or more beneficial situation for me. If the only cost is moving my things then I will transfer.

Get this, I learned the identity of my inhospitable neighbor.

You might remember his breakout 89-yard kickoff return against the San Diego Chargers last season. He's a wide receiver who might be up and coming on the Raiders receiving and return squads. My neighbor, in his second year from the University of Central Florida, number 85, Doug Gabriel.

I told the guy in the front office that this guy isn't going to change his ways and with training camp about to start and the season about to get rolling in September, he's going to be around all the time.

I don't want to root against the Raiders to lose so he doesn't party all Sunday night.

Now, if he played for the 49ers, well then, he would never celebrate because they won't win a game this season.

Saturday, July 17, 2004

New Dress Code at My Work

No more casual "everydays" for the employees of California Savings. Our new owners, First Bank of Oak Park, announced that men must now wear a suit or sportcoat with a tie and dress pants.

Initially, my only problem was the investment needed for buying these garments. I have one suit and three ties, so I need to do some shopping.

It might be nice to wear a suit and tie to work, though. It lends an air of authority and confidence in the workplace. My only concern now is wearing underwear.

Rule #3: No Dancing in the Bathroom

If you're at an establishment that might have a radio or music playing in its restroom resists the urge to dance at the urinal.

I was standing next to this guy at a urinal in Coliseum (oops, Network Associates Coliseum) and music was playing above. The guy starts rocking and twisting to the beat while doing his business. Don't do that. I don't want to be there when the Macarena starts playing or be hit with friendly-fire. HEYYYYY MACARENA!!

A Disaster Waiting to Happen?

The likelihood that disaster might occur during next months Olympics in Athens seems to rise daily as it becomes more and more obvious that the Greeks lack any preparation.

The New York Times reports today that a $325 million security system not only not been delivered and tested, but in some cases, yet to be created.

"The Greeks contracted for a Cadillac but are getting a Chevrolet, said an American security expert involved in the project. But even this Chevrolet has not been fully tested, and because of the limited time, cannot be before the Games."


Huge swaths of Athens are still draped with construction netting and covered in dust. Venues yet to be landscaped and stadia still under construction. These first post-9/11 games simply could not be organized at the last minute.

I don't know if something catastrophic will happen in Greece. I doubt al-Qaeda attempts anything, but some sort of domestic terrorist organization, such as November 17, making themselves known seems possible.

Right now, I really can't blame high-profile athletes like Serena Williams and nearly the entire men's basketball team for skipping out on the Olympics for fear of their safety.

Let's hope the legacy of these Games is Michael Phelps 7 gold medals or the marathon being staged on its ancient path and not some Australian long-distance runner being held hostage.

Friday, July 16, 2004

Rule #2: Don't be a Terrorist

I really don't like people who greet me with double action guns-a-blazing. You know, fashioning your index fingers into a gun and simulating the recoil of a pistola with an up and down motion.
 
Don't be a Terrorist.
 
Keep your guns in their holster and nod your head if you want to say hello.

Sean and Luke heading to Cooperstown?

My nephews Sean and Luke just finished their rookie year of baseball--actually Tee Ball.
 
Tee Ball is like the Arena football concept except with midgets.
 
Both their seasons were deemed wildly successful. If Sabermetrics guru Bill James extrapolated their first-year numbers over their career, their numbers would like something like this:
 
Sean Dawson #5       
AB          R         H          BI   SO   2B   3B  HR  SB    BB   AVG
4,452   4,569     4,452  10      1    0     0      0    1      0    1.000
 
Luke Dawson #1
AB          R         H          BI  SO   2b   3B   HR   SB  BB    AVG
4,400  4,445     4,440    3     3      1    0     0       0    0  1.000
 
Amazing stats! Hall of fame numbers.
 
Exclusive! Sean told me that next year he's holding out unless he gets two 2 pieces of beef jerky and nachos with extra cheese from the snack bar.
 
 
 
The one anomaly is the one double Luke hit his first season. That was due to a 4-year old third baseman who threw the ball to a labrador, who then ran off with the ball. Sadly, Luke only made it to second.
 
I don't understand Tee Ball. The field is too big for these little kids. Nearly all of them can't make the throw to first base or any base for that matter. On Sean and Luke's team, though, the more athletic kids realized it was easier to just run the ball to first....all the way from third base! It worked wonderfully, unfortunately, I think most of these kids think that's how the game is played.
 
These kids are very fan-friendly. They even sign autographs for the fans, although, way too many of them seem to have dyslexia. Lots of backward "s" and the absence of the letters "w", "y" and "g".
 
 

The Rules #1

Do not engage in stall-to-stall bathroom conversations. This is "me" pee time, not "us" pee time. Chatting before entering the sanctity of the bathroom stall is still fair game. Once either person crosses the threshold, it is fair to abruptly cease conversating and pick up where you left off at the sink.
 
Also, c'mon, who brings a can of soda with them to the restroom? If it was a common practice, don't you think somebody would have thought of installing cup holders?

Father Kerry?...Almost

There was an nice piece in today's Washington Post about Sen. John Kerry and the role of his Catholic faith in this campaign.
 
Apparently, Kerry believes black folks want to hear sermons instead of a typical stump speech. Signals from his staff seem to indicate that he will continue to stick to a more secular tone rather than quoting the New Testament.
 
Sounds good to me.
 
The single most annoying development in American politics has been the trend to publicly bare one's religious beliefs for votes. 
 
Although, my political science half is saying combat Bush's born-again Christian mularkey with some of our own religious hooey. Why not? Try to cancel out the issue as best as you can. I do not believe Americans will go to polls solely on the idea that George W. Bush appears to be more pious than Kerry.

This tactic might now have some legs. The WP story reports that Sen. Kerry contemplated joining the priesthood during his youth and carries a rosary and a medal adorned with the image of St. Christopher.
 
C'mon, wouldn't that be nearly as believable as Bush trying to hoodwink Christians into believing his born-again routine. You evil-doer.
 
My personal belief is summed by Sen. Kerry's remark:
I am not a spokesperson for the church, and the church is not a spokesperson for the United States of America.

Keep it that way. 

The more the church tries to intrude on my government or the more my government allows the church to cross over into government, the further away you'll see me from the church house. Amen.