The world is fucked

The world is truly fucked.

That’s my stance … and I base it on the following “headlines:”

Yahoo! News: Chess players to face anti-doping measures

USAToday: U.S. bans sale of iPods to North Korea

Yahoo! News: Court says U.S. discriminates against blind with currency

Chess players are on drugs, Kim Jong-Il can’t buy an iPod, and blind people can’t tell the difference between a $10 and a $100 dollar bill.

And there’s an Abba Museum. Seriously.

And people wonder why traditional news outlets (i.e.newspaper and television) are hurting and forced to layoff staff.

I mean, there’s nothing else to talk about but Kid Rock and Plastic Pam Anderson getting divorced because of Borat?

Anyway … if, like me, you’re missing Lost, here’s a way to keep it all fresh in your head.

And they’re talking about Lindsay Lohan playing Stevie Nicks in a movie. We need a movie about Stevie Nicks?

So does wanting to see the new Harry Potter movie make me a nerd?

Oh, and Premiere says these are the 20 most overrated movies of all time? STFU.


My Grandpa died today.

So I had an idea of what I was going to write today ... but based on the headline, that all changed.

I had kind of a holiday weekend wrap up planned (which, oddly enough knowing me and my penchant for rambling) was going to be short, and going to have two questions.

Short, because I really didn't do a whole lot because I'm still sick.

But with two important questions about death and the afterlife.

See, my grandpa - my mom's dad and my last remaining grandparent - was taken to the hospital on Saturday, and from the sounds of mom's voice when she called to tell me, he probably wasn't going home. She can't say it that way - she had to lay on the Jewish mother guilt (even though we're not Jewish) with "If you want to see your grandfather you better get over to the hospital here in the next day or two. He's not doing well."

I'm sure part of that was because I didn't attend Thanksgiving dinner this year because I didn't leave my apartment because I was sick as hell; and part was just how she delivers news. When her mom died in 1993, the phone call said, "You don't have a grandmother anymore."

Anyway ... Sunday, I drug myself out of bed, got a shower, took some DayQuil in hopes I'd feel better, and headed out to the hospital to see him. And yes, I put on a surgical mask when I got to the hospital to keep my germs to myself.

But hiding there behind my mask, looking at him as I said goodbye, in my head I had question number 1:

What do you say to someone who's dying when you leave?

And as I drove over to my dad's house, being behind the wheel always makes me think, in my head i had question number 2:

When you get to wherever you believe you go after you die, what do you look like?

He was 90 in June. And while he didn't look it then, he did when I saw him on Sunday.

I can remember him being in his 60's when I was a kid. He always had thin white hair and age spots to me. But the photos I've seen of him younger he was a wavy-haired redhead, much like my cousin Alan.

Based on my limited beliefs and pop-culture lifestyle, I kind of came up with the idea that you will recognize someone in the afterlife as you remember them in your fondest memory of them - the first memory you have of them when you think of them.

At least that's what I believe ... honestly, probably because of how Obi-Wan, Anakin and Yoda appeared to Luke in Episode VI.

And I base that on this fact: given the option of looking like Sir Alec Guinness or Ewan McGregor, I'd choose Ewan ... even though Obi-Wan appeared as Alec Guinness ... so apparently you can't choose your form, or you appear to the person as they knew you.

So now I'm wondering how he appeared to my grandmother when he joined her at 5:10 this morning after he died. I'm sure he choose a much younger version of himself.

Here he is in August with my daughter ...

My fondest memory of him was when I was about four, we lived with my grandparents for a bit when my mom and dad divorced. Grandpa had a bit of a prankster in him ... and he'd eat his peas off a butter knife and encourage us to try. I was four, my sister was seven. So not only were we not coordinated enough to use a butter knife to butter bread, we never saw him dip his knife in the potatoes to get it sticky, so our peas wound up all over the plate, the table, and the floor ... and would my grandmother yell at him! "Jack! Jack! Stop it. Those kids are getting peas all over the place! He'd laugh and we'd laugh and the only other sound was Radio 57 playing on that beat-up black radio on the table.

My other favorite memory of him is with my daughter, when she was a baby ... the two of them were buddies!

Not the greatest picture in the world as it was taken through a screen, but she walked right in there, he picked her up, and they hung out talking.

She was hooked. It's going to break my heart to tell her.


Some things never change

So last year, about this time, I started feeling weird.

Like getting sick but not sure what kind of sick.

It was the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.

Same as today.

I remember going to lunch.

I remember going back to work.

I remember about 1:15 asking the guy in the office next to mine where the nearest urgent care/hospital was.

I woke up about seven hours later in a hospital bed, wearing only a gown, with an IV and other monitoring devices. Apparently, after driving myself to the ER, getting registered and taking a seat to wait, when they called my name, I stood up and passed out, right there, in the waiting room.

Never found out what it was, but odds are it was food-borne illness from the symptoms, and the fact I didn't feel like eating anything until that Saturday ... so I went from lunch on Wednesday to dinner on Saturday without a regular meal ... including nothing but Gatorade on Thanksgiving 2005. Yep, no turkey, no stuffing, no mashed or sweet potatoes ... nothing, at all.

So I was looking forward to having some turkey this year.

Yep, verb tense is correct - was

Because I'm sick, again.

But at least this year I know what it is and where it came from.

Last weekend my daughter, who is 8, was sick. And normally, she's a trooper when she's sick.

We were planning on going out to see Happy Feet ... and we did ... and it was all she could do to last until the end of the movie. And when it was over, we went back to her house and she took over the couch and napped and watched cartoons all afternoon.

And all evening.

And all night.

And I sat there with her until she finally fell asleep about 1:15 a.m., then tucked her in bed and headed home. (Yeah, my ex-and I get along great, we have that kind of relationship. We're lucky.)

I saw her again on Monday, she was feeling a bit better, but still sick. Headache, fever, sore throat, general feeling of blah.

All typical flu symptoms ... classic case.

Last night, those same symptoms were all me. Yeah.

Today it's much the same. I started on the DayQuil at 9:00 a.m. ... we'll see how that works.

But if it's true to what she had, I'll be beat up all weekend ... so as it looks now, it's going to be another turkey-less Thanksgiving for me.

Could be worse ... I could pass out and wake up, seven hours later in a hospital bed like last year, eh?


Bad Product Placement

There's good product placement ... you see your favorite character in a movie or TV show eating, drinking or wearing something ... and you think, "Hey, that looks good. I should try that."

Then there's bad product placement.

From today's Yahoo news comes a story out of Boston paired up with an advertisement for a new Denzel Washington movie.

Click the picture for a DOH! moment.


Dems took Abramoff $$ too

A funny thing I found today ... it appears that nearly all of the Democrats in the Senate received a bit of assistance from jailed lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

Although reporters continue to insist that the Abramoff imbroglio is "a Republican scandal," 40 of the Democratic Party's 45 U.S. senators made the Jack Abramoff dishonor roll, including:

  • Senator Max Baucus (D-MT) - $22,500
  • Senator Evan Bayh (D-IN) - $6,500
  • Senator Joseph Biden (D-DE) - $1,250
  • Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) - $2,000
  • Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) - $20,250
  • Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) - $21,765
  • Senator Tom Carper (D-DE) - $7,500
  • Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) - $12,950
  • Senator Kent Conrad (D-ND) - $8,000
  • Senator Jon Corzine (D-NJ) - $7,500
  • Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT) - $14,792
  • Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND) - $79,300
  • Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) - $14,000
  • Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) - $2,000
  • Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI) - $1,250
  • Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) - $45,750
  • Senator Daniel Inouye (D-HI) - $9,000
  • Senator Jim Jeffords (I-VT) - $2,000
  • Senator Tim Johnson (D-SD) - $14,250
  • Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA) - $3,300
  • Senator John Kerry (D-MA) - $98,550
  • Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA) - $28,000
  • Senator Pat Leahy (D-VT) - $4,000
  • Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) - $6,000
  • Senator Joe Lieberman (D-CT) - $29,830
  • Senator Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) - $14,891
  • Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) - $10,550
  • Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) - $78,991
  • Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) - $20,168
  • Senator Ben Nelson (D-NE) - $5,200
  • Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) - $7,500
  • Senator Mark Pryor (D-AR) - $2,300
  • Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) - $3,500
  • Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) - $68,941
  • Senator John Rockefeller (D-WV) - $4,000
  • Senator Ken Salazar (D-CO) - $4,500
  • Senator Paul Sarbanes (D-MD) - $4,300
  • Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) - $29,550
  • Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) - $6,250
  • Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) - $6,250

Oh, you probably didn't know that.


*That* didn't work out well

Very few things in life piss me off.

Lots of things upset me.

Lots of things bother me.

Lots of things raise my ire.

And usually, I'm over it, quickly. I bitch, I whine, I complain, I may even blog about it (no, really?), but then I get over it and go on.

However, something happened this weekend that really got my bloomers in a bunch, as the British would say. (Well, at least it sounds like something the British would say, so unless your English, and can prove that it's not a common saying, mind your business, m'kay?)

My mad photo skillz were requested (yes, bold for a reason) by a band that I am/was (not sure of anymore) a fan of.

I wasn't planning on going to the show they were having, because it was in Columbus, during Hate Week (the OSU/Michigan game, look it up). I didn't want to go for a couple of reason:

  • I don't live in Columbus anymore.
  • Being on campus during Hate Week reminds me of just about everything I dislike about people - blind allegiance to a sports team, attitude fueled by alcohol, and the ability to be seen at an event in the hopes those who see you will think you cooler than before because you were at said event.
So it was on my "Meh" list.

Then I got the email from a guy in the band asking me to come to the show, take photos of his real band, and photos of a playful side project that sees the light of day a couple of times a year ... and he was tossing some free tickets at me.

The venue is one I saw his real band at in March and said to myself then, "DAMN, I'd love to shoot this band in this venue."

So the band is playing the venue.

And they've asked me to come take photos.

And they're giving me free tickets.

Despite my dislike of the expected crowd of drunken revelers, and the campus location, I decide I'm in.

So I arrange to leave work early to drive down there, fight the crowds, find somewhere to park ... remember, this is Ohio State vs. Michigan week, so the campus of THE Ohio State University (it is required to use a capitalized article when referring to OSU by its full name. Look it up) was packed. And crazy.

And because the place that this show was being held is a regular concert venue, two days before the show, I ask the guy who requested me and my camera come to the show for a photo pass so I would have no trouble shooting from the side of the stage, the security barrier and anywhere else in the building I wanted to shoot from.

I get to the venue, get the tickets, disperse them to my peeps, but no photo pass. I did manage to get me a media pass from the nice woman at the ticket window. That allowed me to get my camera in the door.

That's all it allowed me.

Having photographed concerts many, many times, at regular concert venues, many, many times before, back in the day when I was a real-live member of the media and shot bands like Motley Crue, Queensryche, Tracy Chapman, Melissa Etheridge, Joan Jett (when she was popular), Alabama, and others ... before the show starts, I head up to the security guy at the side-stage entrance, show him my media credential, and ask him where I can shoot from.

He says, "Only in the crowd."

Hmmm .... to quote Will Durst, that's not good. Look it up.

So I ponder my options ... I don’t get the angles I wanted, I don’t get the shots I had thought about ... So I decide to track down said band member who, remember, invited me and my camera to this show, to ask for assistance to get greater access.

He basically blew me off with "It's a venue rule."

Which is fine and dandy, if that's the case.

Which it wasn't.

Because there were TWO people ON STAGE shooting photos and video of B.A. Baracus (they're a band from Columbus. That sucks. Look it up. Someone once described their lead singer as a has-been who never was. To steal a line from another friend of mine, his attitude-to-ability ratio is way outta whack).

So then I ask another band member and he says it's up to some other guy, who I should go find, or just shoot from the crowd.

Since I don't know who the other guy is, or where to find him, I start to realize that I'm getting no assistance from the band that invited me here to photograph them.

And I refuse to shoot from this crowd.

That's when I started to get pissed.

I can re-arrange a photo shoot in my head based on venue or band rules, or lighting, or lack thereof, so that wasn’t the issue.

The crowd was the issue.

Yeah, I was there early enough to get a decent spot up front. However, in my attempts to chase down band members to get greater access, I lost my cool spot in the front. And did not feel like fighting my way back into the crowd.

Because the crowd, for this event, was comprised of a whole lot of intoxicated people chugging depth-charge sized beer in the venue, and who knows what before they got to the venue, all proving they could spell at or about a third-grade level, by answering the "O-H" with the appropriate "I-O" ... which made me glad we live in a four-letter state.

And there were some people telling B.A. Baracus that they sucked, so there were some sober people with a taste for music.

However, based on the size of the crowd, density of the floor, and amount of beer being consumed, there was no way in hell I was taking my kick-ass photo gear into that crowd to shoot photos.

So basically, the trip was wasted.

That's when I got really pissed.

About five minutes after getting really pissed (and, contrary to my previous British reference, pissed in this case is not meant in the British way), I decided I didn't even want to stay and see the band that I like/liked that invited me to the show.

So I left, and drove back to Niles.

I got home about 1 a.m.

I left work that day at 2 p.m.

I wasted 11 hours of my life, and a tank of gas.

For nothing.

And honestly, it will be a while before I feel like seeing that band again.

I'm wondering if I'll hear from them asking me if I got any good shots.

That'll be a fun email to answer.


SPAM is good reading

I'm not exactly sure what email spam list(s) I'm on ... but lately, I've been getting some interesting things.

Apparently, according to my bulk mail folder:

  • I'm Black (black singles ads)
  • I'm Asian (Asian dating sites)
  • I'm Hispanic (Latino dating sites)
  • I'm Over 50 (mature dating sites)
  • I'm Catholic (catholic singles sites. Yes, plural)
  • I'm Impotent (yeah, we all get the fact they have drugs that allow us to throw a football through a spare tire, whatever that means.)
  • I'm looking to get married again (tired of being lonely? We have marriage-minded women for you)
  • I need a new car
  • I'm qualified for a job with eBay, which I don't really need, because in addition to all of the above ...
  • I'm a multi-millionaire due to relatives of mine all over Africa dying under mysterious circumstances.
Envy my full, rich life, won't you?

Now I'm off to go find me that marriage-minded, 50+ African-Latino-Asian-American Catholic woman who doesn't want sex but wants to spend all the money I make at my eBay job and the 40 percent of the millions of dollars I'll get for helping free the bounty from my dead African relatives, but don't spend on my new car, as soon as I figure out what my bank routing number is and email it to people I've never met.

(No, really, I'm going to act like I'm working until about 2 p.m. today, before driving down to Columbus for the the "Hate Michigan" rally at the Newport on High Street, featuring B.A. Baracus (Yes, a band named after Mr. T's A-Team character), Columbus's favorite sons, Watershed and the best damn punk band in the land, this week, the Dead Schembechlers.

Oh, it's not all spam in my inbox ... I did get a couple of great emails this week from Bo Vicious of the Dead Schembechlers inviting me to be their official photographer for the event ... so look for photos of the bands, and the crowd, and the general craziness that is the OSU Camups during Hate Week on my website next week.)


2008 Republican Candidates

It's just under two years until the next Presidential election, but already the race is underway.

So for those of you who'd rather watch Spongebob than the world around you, here are the Top Ten candidates from the Democratic and Republican parties ... names you'll be hearing, a lot of, in the next two years ... and my take on them.

Today we're tackling the Republicans (listed alphabetically):

Sam Brownback, Senator, Kansas. Elected in the Republican Revolution of 1994; took over the Senate seat held by Bob Dole in 1996. Called the most sincere politician by those who know him; he has a plan for Kansas, and America, called "Reduce, Reform and Return" to restore the American Dream. The New York Times calls him "one of the most conservative, religious, fascinating -- and, in many ways, admirable -- politicians in America today."

Bill Frist, Senator, Tennessee. Was Senate Majority Leader when GOP had control. Licensed medical doctor, pilot (multi-engine, commercial, and instrument rated). Has performed over 150 heart and lung transplants, so perhaps he can transform America, too. Served two terms as a Senator from Tennessee before giving up the seat to consider his presidential run, so he won't be neglecting his senatorial duties while running. As a doctor, backs stem cell research and believes in a woman's right to choose, so he's a moderate.

Rudy Giuliani, former Mayor, NYC. Time's "Man of the Year" in 2001 after his handling of the Islamic terrorist attacks. Lawyer, two-term mayor of NYC; After 9-11-2001 he may have ruled NYC, but as I said about Hillary, there are 370 other cities, and 49 other states, he needs to visit.

Newt Gringrich, former Speaker of the House and Congressman from Georgia. Resigned as speaker and left the house after the 1998 Republican loss of five seats (he predicted a 30 seat gain). Best known for starting the "Contract With America" to reform welfare, campaign reform, balance the budget and tackle crime which led to the Republican Revolution of 1994 when the GOP took 54 seats in the House from Democrats.

Chuck Hagel, Senator - Nebraska. Businessman, Vietnam vet including two legit Purple Hearts; former newscaster, founded VANGUARD Cellular Systems. Has a son named Ziller (and a daughter Allyn) so he thinks outside of the box in a lot of ways.

Mike Huckabee, Governor, Arkansas. He's a bass player, which automatically gives him cool points (see Nye, Mark [Swig Tooth], or Oestreich, Joe [Watershed]). Named one of the top 5 governors by Time Magazine; believes in education, Medicaid and welfare reform, and nutrition reform as well. having lost 110 pounds after being diagnosed with Type II diabetes in 2003. First Republican elected in Arkansas to a state-level office since Reconstruction; got the largest percentage of the vote ever received by a Republican gubernatorial nominee in 1998. Has written four books: "Character is the Issue" 1997; "Kids Who Kill" 1998; "Living Beyond Your Lifetime" 2000; "Quit Digging Your Grave With A Knife and Fork" 2005.

Duncan Hunter, Congressman, California. Wants to follow fellow Republicans Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan as Californian Congressmen who became President. Supports the Secure Fence Act to strengthen the border with Mexico. Vietnam Vet, chairs the House Armed Service Committee, been in Congress since 1980.

John McCain, Senator - Arizona. He's old. He'll be 72 on Election Day 2008, only Reagan at 73 on his second election day was older. McCain's a former military officer, and was a prisoner of war in Vietnam. Elected to congress in 1982; elected to Senate in 1986. Ran unsuccessfully in 2000 for Republican nomination. Seen as a centrist, but has many enemies. Most likely candidate at this point in time.

Milt Rommy, Governor, Massachusetts. Elected in 2002, got rid of a $3 billion (with a B) budget deficit in his first year of office by cutting the fat, streamlining and enacting comprehensive economic reforms; which lowered unemployment and spurred job growth, so he can get things done. Made the 2002 Winter Olympics in Utah a success by taking over as President and CEO of the Salt Lake organizing Committee, erasing a $379 million debt. Ran Bain & Company as CEO, a management consulting firm, and Bain Capital, the venture capital company that launched Staples, Domino's, Sealy, and the Sports Authority, amongst others.

Tommy Thompson, former Governor - Wisconsin (1987-2000). Also former Health & Human Services director (2001-2005), and one of the first implanted with a "Healthcare ID" chip which "can be scanned at hospitals" to "keep track of the implantee's medical data." Member of the Council for National Policy with Trent Lott, Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell, amongst others. Scary.


2008 Democratic Candidates

It's just under two years until the next Presidential election, but already the race is underway.

So for those of you who'd rather watch Spongebob than the world around you, here are the Top Ten candidates from the Democratic and Republican parties ... names you'll be hearing, a lot of, in the next two years ... and my take on them.

Today we'll tackle the Democrats (listed alphabetically):

Evan Bayh - Senator, Indiana. An up and coming star in the Democratic party. Two-term governor, former Secretary of State for Indiana, and son of a U.S. Senator ... all from a state that has not voted for a democratic presidential candidate since LBJ in 1964. I'd probably vote for him.

Joe Biden - Senator/Plagiarist, Delaware. Nobody wanted him in 1988 before the found out he lifted parts of a speech from a British politician without proper attribution ... I'm sure nobody wants him now, either. Granted he has a great "Unite Our States" concept, and perhaps the best plan to end the Iraq war, but he's old, and old news, as far as most Democrats are concerned.

Hillary Clinton - Senator, New York. While the Clintons are as close to royalty as the Democrats have in America, there are too many conservatives (not Republicans. The two are not mutually exclusive) to elect her. Despite what those from New York think, there are 49 other states in the US. Born in Chicago, moved to New York after leaving the White House because it was winnable (my comment). Still, she did offer the first universal health care plan in 1994.

Christopher Dodd - Senator, Connecticut. Considered too East Coast for most of the party, he's been in government since 1974 when he was elected to the House. Too much a life-long office-holder to connect with the people.

John Edwards. Wants five minutes of your time to make America better. Big fan of using technology to reach people and voters, gives him a nice niche among tech-savvy people. Seems like a nice enough guy, rags-to-riches, son killed in a car crash, wife fighting breast cancer ... hard to beat on paper, but when he opens his mouth ... ugh. I'm wondering what he's going to come up with in 2008 after his "Christopher Reeves would walk again if John Kerry was president" and the whole "baby crying to get out" malpractice case.

Al Gore. Art Garfunkel to Bill Clinton's Paul Simon. Can't stand on his own, even despite trying to distance himself from Clinton's shadow. Nice movie (out on DVD on 11/21) about the environment, but it doesn't register outside of the already existing liberal environmental democrat faction. Unfortunately.

John Kerry - Senator, Massachusetts. Regardless of what conspiracy theories you subscribe to, he lost in 2004. And nobody on the Democratic side really wanted him to win. He was put up against President Bush to find the holes in the Democratic party to allow them to plan for 2006 and 2008. It worked with Michael Dukakis in 1988, and it worked again in 2006. Still hasn't told us what his plan for America in 2004 was, but given his record it's probably changed a few times since then. Oh, and he recommends a 52k modem to view his official website. (Technically, if you still surf with dialup, you're probably a republican, or a victim of the Bush legacy and too poor to afford broadband.) And, surprisingly, no comment on his 'botched joke' from me. Really.

Barack Obama - Senator, Illinois. Another of the Democratic Party's rising stars, but is two years in the U.S. Senate enough experience? Me thinks not. And there are too many rednecks and racists (not mutually exclusive categories) to elect a black president.

Bill Richardson - Governor, New Mexico. Former Secretary of Energy under Clinton and GWB; former Ambassador to the United Nations; former Congressman. Nominated several times for the Nobel Peace prize; elected governor in 2002 by the largest margin of victory since 1964; big fan of clean energy; state has a balanced budget and one of the nation's highest budget reserves.

Tom Vilsack - Governor, Iowa. In the words of Heywood Banks, "Corn. Corn. Corn. Corn. Corn. Corn. Corn. Corn." Seriously, term-limited in Iowa, he'll be unemployed in January 2007. Big fan of ethanol (um, that's made from, uh, corn. See!) and universal heath care, looks a bit like Peter Griffn from Family Guy, which could be beneficial; his wife loves to wear hats and is a big fan of libraries and literacy and has a cool flash intro to her website.

Next time, the Republicans.


Why the world hates us

So tonight as I was doing my shopping ... I found yet another reason why the rest of the world hates us.

While people live in tents in the third world because they have no other options, here we do it for fun. There are people in tents living outside of Best Buy, lined up, waiting to buy the PlayStation 3 when they go on sale on Friday.

They've been there since Monday.

And that's when I realized why we're doomed as a society.

Hey guys ... it's time to put down the game systems ... especially if you're over 25; go out of the house, socialize and try to get laid.


When your life has come down to sitting inside a camping tent, on a sidewalk, outside a Best Buy in a strip mall in Niles Fucking Ohio ... in November, in a torrential downpour so you can be among the first to get your hands on a fucking video game system, society needs to step in, sterilize and euthanize.

That's all I'm saying.


Song of the Day

We've all heard stories about singers forgetting the words to their songs.

Saturday night it happened to Greg Joseph at Club Cafe.

About 25 minutes into his set, and just after he put down the big orange guitar and picked up the shiny metal guitar, he tuned it, played a few notes, and started singing a very insightful song about the rash of high school shootings that made the news. The song is called "The List"

"You made my list. I hold it tight"

He paused.

"Oh shit. I forgot the words. I always mess up this song," he said.

From my seat, just to the left side of the stage in front of where Rob James would later join his Clarks bandmate to play guitar, harmonica and add some backing vocals, I pulled the camera down for a minute and said, "It's hidden deep inside my books. I add to it every night."

"Yeah, that's it. Thanks," he said, sheepishly grinning.

And started the song over.

I love the song ... it's one of those great "kid who got picked on" songs ... and there were times in school when I was that kid, so on some level, I can identify with it.

And that identity is often what makes a song great to someone.

Which is why I love that album like I do. It's full of songs that I can identify with. Love, loss, fun, and even a song about driving through the south.

And I've got a couple of tales about driving through the south, police officers and dumb things I've said.

But those are for later days.

Later in the show, Greg and Rob were tossing out some classic Clarks songs, and a few select covers, including "Down Under" by Men At Work.

It's funny how sometimes an acoustic cover of an 80's tune can make you remember how good - and how bad - a song is at the same time, eh?

Now I'm off for a bit of a vegamite sandwich.

(No, not really. Going for a salad at Panera. Vegetables, vegamite ... not really the same, other than some letters)

So I'll leave you with another song off the album I identify with ... "Liquid World"

Liquid World

Caught you searching for answers
At the bottom of a glass
On a two legged bar stool, that teeters between
Yesterday and the past

Always cast out as the victim
Bring your tears and violins
Only one piece I offer, to you as my friend
This is life and how you win

I’ve been stand up, knocked down
rolled around
In my liquid world
I’ve been kicked to the ground
But I’ll never stand down
I will rise up, stand up, run wild
In my liquid world
This is my liquid world

Hear you’re fighting some new battle
There’s nobody on the other side
Except for your demons and fears, screaming in your ears,
Make a mess of your mind

Caught you running toward disaster
Riding rough, crashing in
When there’re six lanes of traffic, only four lanes of road
You back it up, you start again


I thought my life was boring

November 9, 2006 - TORONTO (Reuters) - Think rock, paper, scissors is a children's game? Think again. Top players from around the globe will gather in Toronto this weekend to compete for a C$10,000 (4,636 pounds) prize and the title of world champion.

More than 500 contestants, including national champions from Australia, Norway and New Zealand, are expected to attend.

Tournament organizer Graham Walker said players will have to steel themselves against psychological pressure as players typically form teams to rally each other.

"The team will surround the arena, provide moral support and usually try to intimidate the opponent," said Walker, who is also co-author of "The Official Rock Paper Scissors Guide."

The simple game is often used to make decisions and resolve basic conflicts.

Author Ian Fleming had his fictional secret agent James Bond play the game in Japan, in "You Only Live Twice."

Players smack their fists into their palms and count to three before making one of three hand signals: a fist (rock), flat hand (paper) or two fingers (scissors). Paper covers rock, scissors cut paper and rock breaks scissors.

Enthusiasts disagree about the history of the game, but it is believed to have been played for centuries in Japan.

The Paper Scissors Stone Club was founded in England in 1842 and provided an environment free from the long arm of the law where enthusiasts could come together and play for honour, according to the World RPS (Rock Paper Scissors) Society Web page (www.worldrps.com).

In 1918, the name was changed to World RPS Club to reflect the growing international representation and its headquarters moved from London to Toronto. In 1925 its membership topped 10,000.

The world championships have been held since 2002.


That lizard tells the truth

So in addition to saving a bunch of money by switching my car insurance to Geico in August ...

... I just saved a bunch of money on my Geico insurance by moving to Niles.

Who'da thunk that car insurance in Columbus would be more expensive than Niles, Ohio ... right next door to the 9th most dangerous city in the nation!

But yeah, I changed my address and BAM ... got an instant rate reduction of about $11 a month.

I'm on easy street now!


Yeah, I hit that.

Shhhhh … I have a secret.

A long time ago, in a galaxy not so far away … I slept with a married woman.

And I knew she was married.

And it didn't bother me because I had no designs on her other than friendship.

The fact we slept together was nothing planned, nothing repeated, and nothing we even talked about before - or after - it happened.

And after it was over, it was over. We didn't regret it, or deny it, or repeat it.

Not because it wasn't good, but because it wasn't the result of anything other than being there, in that moment, where it could happen. That moment wasn't repeated, either.

And we didn't dwell on it, either. We did it, showered, dressed, and went to work.


Before that night, she and I worked together at one of my many jobs. And after work, we hung out, we drank beer together, were on the same softball team, played tennis, and talked.

After that night, we continued to hang out, drink beer, play softball, tennis, bicycle, and be friends, like before, without any ‘nudge, nudge, wink, wink’ stuff.

Most of the time we were together outside of work, we’d talk about work – how to do it better, smarter, easier. And we’d talk about other things, too. A lot of other things. Her marriage, their future plans, and how they planned on getting there.

Her moving to the area I was living in was one of the building blocks on that plan.

Now if you've read most of my stuff, you're probably saying, Wow Eric, this is really, really vague, eh? Yes, it is.


To fill in some of those details, one night, after a late night of work, she mentioned not wanting to drive home in the heavy blanket of snow and ice that hit the area, as January storms tend to do in Northeastern Ohio. I told her I had an extra bedroom she could use.

At some point in time, during the night, she got cold. This apartment I had was in an old house. It was drafty. The windows would rattle. And to keep the heating bill down, I kept that room closed, so it was kind of chilly in there. And the blankets on the bed weren't the best.

And when she got cold, she decided that my bed was big enough for two, and my comforter was probably warmer than the old blanket she had, so she joined me.

When morning came, and we woke up, she kind of rolled over, stretched, pulled off the t-shirt I gave her to sleep in, smiled and said, "I'm really horny in the morning. How about you?”

That's just too good of an invitation for a straight man to pass up. It was a good morning.

And we were both smiles all day at work.

And it was never repeated.

And that's all I'm saying.

Again, vague, even for me.

But there's a reason.

A really good reason.

As I said, she was married.

Quite happily.

That’s not the reason.

See, they had an agreement … they were free to do who they wanted, as long as it was just play.

Which ours was.

She was a bit older than me at the time - about 10 years. That's a big deal when you're under 25, as I was.

And I thought she was way out of my league. I was mid-20's, full of insecurity and not all that confident about the way I looked.

She was mid-30's, beautiful, with a great smile, great rack and an ass like nobody's business that I loved to follow up the steps at work, as well as uphill when we'd bicycle around the city after work.

And she wore this killer perfume. Liz Claiborne, I think. The original one. Yum.

As I said, all this happened a long time ago.

So why bring it up now?

Well, I was watching election results on Tuesday and saw her on TV.

At a victory party.

For her husband … who was elected to a pretty important position.

Yep, there they were, on the national news, together, smiling, with their kids.

National news. Not local.

Sure, after more than a decade, she looked a bit older, but still hot as ever, with a smile I'd recognize anywhere.

And it brought back good memories … memories of us hanging out. Drinking beer. Laughing. Talking.

And, yeah, that one great morning.


I'm not schitzo ...

There really are multiple me's.

I've always said ... if someone tells you you're one in a million, that means there are three hundred people just like you in America ... and about six thousand of you in the world.

Apparently, I'm one in one hundred million.

LogoThere are:
people with my name
in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?


Random Thoughts

The world is truly fucked up.

In addition to Daniel Ortega being voted back in power in Nicaragua's elections 16 years after they voted him out to end a civil war, now Saddam Hussein is calling for everyone to "forgive and forget."

Invoking Prophet Mohammad and Jesus, Saddam told a court trying him for genocide against Kurds: "I call on all Iraqis, Arabs and Kurds, to forgive, reconcile and shake hands."

This, of course, after being sentenced to death.

The United Nations, however, says his trial has not been well conducted, and he deserves to live.

"Even a person like Saddam Hussein should not be sentenced to death," said UN special investigator Manfred Nowak, who acknowledged that Saddam's regime had killed and tortured many political opponents and members of minorities.

Those thoughts are echoed by the European Union, who agrees he's guilty but should not be hanged.

President Bush is happy with the outcome and wants to see Saddam swing. I agree with that.

Then there's this:

The Iranians, still bitter about the Iran-Iraq war from 1980-1988 that left more than a million dead on both sides, AGREE WITH OUR PRESIDENT (and with me!)

"We hope the fair, correct and legal verdict against this criminal ... is enforced," Iranian government spokesman Gholam Hossein Elham told a news conference. "He is a criminal dictator. No doubt about it," Elham said of Saddam. "We hope no pressure will be applied not to carry out this verdict."

Elham later said Saddam's "very existence is anti-human."

Gotta love that.

As they say ... sometimes the enemy of my enemy is my friend.

Sa'lam, my Iranian friends.

Yep, the world is fucked up.

Now go vote, and remember, vote Republican. If for no other reason than it pisses people off ... and for this reason, too: