Saturday, October 31, 2009

It's Magic

The TV machine has been filled with images over the past 2-3 weeks of a spiffy new device called the Motorola Droid. The Droid is a cell phone machine that enables people to use the telephone while not connected to a phone line. Perhaps making more news than this new cell phone machine is the catchy but not-too-saccharine popular music song that runs during the iDon't portion of the advertisement before it is rudely interrupted by the television machine advertisement for the phone machine. I know it is hard to keep track of all the ins-and-outs here, but I have confidence in my readership and our collective intelligence . After a little bit of internet machine searching, I discovered that the singer/songwriter of this song is a woman my age born with the name Maureen McDonald in Detroit, Michigan. Her artist name is MoZella and she seems to have some sort of soft spot in her heart for Michigan because the name of her second album machine is Belle Isle. I guess she's had some degree of success because the Wikipedia machine tells me that she has toured with the likes of David Matthews and the band of said David Matthews. Way to be from Michigan, Maureen.

Enjoy the song in its entirety right here from the YouTube machine. I promise it won't be interrupted by any gadget machine commercials.

Here's to U of D High School

Facebook was filled yesterday with former classmates of mine linking to this story that is currently featured in Time's special Assignment: Detroit feature. Awesomely, this story is about the greatest high school in Michigan, if not the galaxverse, The University of Detroit High School and Academy Established 1877. The year after I graduated, a guy named Drew started a popular cheer that went "Give me a T - T - Give me an H - H - Give me an E - E - Give me a U - U..." and so on until the entire fan base had spelled out "The University of Detroit High School and Academy Established 1877." The cheer took several minutes to complete and most often people forgot what part of the cheer they were spelling, but it was OK as long as Drew kept his focus. As great as the school was and is, they didn't discourage us from idiotic cheers.

Another name for the article could have been "Why Catholic Central is a Bunch of Pussies" - ZING CC

Ah, just a little bit of lingering high school rivalry against a school that has generally vastly superior athletics (but is filled with pussies - ZING).

I'm a white suburban boy, born and raised in the 'burbs, but aside from my family, nothing shaped the person that I am today more than my experiences at The High. The statement that resonated most strongly with me in the article is how the school, which remains inside the border of Detroit despite dropping enrollment and White Flight in the mid-1900s, allowed surbanites to cross over scary 8 Mile and better integrate with the great city of Detroit. Admittedly, the school remains in a safe and well-kept area on the outskirts of Detroit, but the school lived and breathed Detroit. Students volunteer thousands of non-compulsory hours every year to service projects in and around the city - donating and delivering food, cleaning up parks, standing fast against Russian communists, all sorts of great things for the city. The administration, faculty, staff, and students hold so much pride in regard to the simple location of the school. We stand with our city for no reason other than choice. This city birthed the school, and the school chooses to stand with its sexually ambiguous parent of Detroit.

It's impossible to really begin to hit on every thing that makes students and alums feel their high school is special, but the Time article is a decent place to start. Cubs are not known for being particularly fierce, but they do love their mommy. Someone decades ago must have known that if the school stayed in the city and Michigan went through some crazy hard times, years later Time Magazine would write an article about it and, eventually, allow me to write this post. That person is the true hero here.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Why, L&O?

Law and Order is a show that is now, has been, and forever shall be, story driven. I like Lupo and Bernard as much as the next guy, but in the 400 years that L&O has been on television, they have solved one zillion cases, thrown at the viewer two zillion twists, and that guy who voiced Lumiere was a star for more than a few years. Lumiere! It was amazing watching them integrate a candelabra week-in/week-out. It was nice for someone to finally break through the candelabra glass ceiling that has been so very prominent in TV through the years. Sure there was always that subplot that if his wicks ever burned down he would suffocate and we couldn't Be His Guest, but that just made the show that much more exciting! That Lumiere sure could sing, though. I miss Jerry Orbach.

I just can't understand why this season they have introduced the undercurrent of Van Buren's cancer. I have seriously seen every single episode of L&O (most multiple times) and I can't remember a single time where they had some sort of ongoing personal story arc like this. When they killed off police officers or DA's after they had been on the show for 1-5 years they would forget about that by the end of the freaking episode. Detective Green was on the show for oodles of seasons and the reference to his departure was "he something something police something". That's about as much explanation as they gave his character.

I find it very depressing and completely unnecessary to incorporate the personal story of cancer into the show. I also find it upsetting that this problem I have with the show has caused me to say cancer in back-to-back posts. I know that they're setting up for some sort of Benjamin Bratt return and it will likely be related to Van Buren's cancer, but let's get back to supermodel murder, pawn shop suspects, and in the end the supermodels younger sister did it because she wanted to marry the husband of the supermodel, kill him, and then take the life insurance policy of her sister and her new husband. Cancer just makes things too confusing.


According to this article from Time, Michigan is the nation's number one grower of blueberries. Congratulations Michigan! Of course, Time is just jumping on the bandwagon from my award-winning post On Blueberries that I wrote back on August 13rd. Award-winning is not exactly an accurate statement in that it is not at all accurate. Of course, this article focuses more on the fact that one of the Michigan farms that grows our nation-leading blueberries utilized some variety of illegal migrant and child labor, but that's not that important when you consider all of those delicious balls of blue (hehe) our state produces. If children are required to lead the nation in this category of blueberry production, I'm all for it (for the purposes of any future political career, this is where I must unfortunately say that I am against child labor because of humor shortages across the land).

Here's why I think it's OK that children are picking our blueberries - the antioxidants. I know that when I was younger (and less younger as in today), it was absolutely impossible to work with food without eating mass quantities of that food. As a result, you end up with a bunch of children who are probably cramming their faces with blueberries in the hopes of turning into that girl who turns into a blueberry in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. And what comes with all of those blueberry-stuffed faces? Antioxidants and whatever antioxidants may or may not provide in terms of positive health effects (people claim they help with cancer and coronary heart disease - help meaning the reverse of help in this situation). If anything, we should put more children to work in fruit and vegetable fields. In Michigan, we can parlay our blueberry leadership into leading the world into a future of a cancer-immune human through illegal child labor.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Poor Decision Making

This is just a short little story and people have lots of these kinds of stories, but this one is pretty funny. Maureen was shopping at Meijer today (which I continue to believe is the greatest store of all time) and was stuck in line behind an individual who was also making some purchases. This kind of thing makes sense because the person in front of her was at a great store like Meijer and was also at the cash register, so that is a natural time to be making purchases.

What is less natural, though, is a combination of things about this person. She was using a "bridge" card, which is government subsidized food assistance parsed out in monthly allocations, and the amount varies by an individual's circumstances. So when you put all this together, the person in front of Maureen was purchasing cigarettes and crab legs. The bridge card does not work for cigarettes, so this component of the purchase had to come out of the customer's hard-earned cash reserves. I'm not a fan of the cigarettes but I understand and appreciate that people are addicted. What I do not understand or appreciate is why this person who is on government assistance was spending $65 on crab legs. Do you know how many boxes of Kraft Mac 'n' Cheese you can buy for $65? Somewhere between 65 and 130 based on the day. We are in a recession and this person receives the equivalent of food stamps, so I am genuinely amazed by how much she must really love crab legs. Crab legs and blue spandex sweatsuits. Feed my family for a month? Screw that, I'm having two ounces of nearly impossible-to-access meat tonight.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Get on the Barge or Get Out of the Way

Yes, friends, when kickball season ends, there is only one appropriate way to celebrate - 23 scoops of ice cream of various flavors, covered in toppings of several varieties, and piled together onto a green plate. They call it a "party barge" and it is $25 of severe tummy troubles for those who suffer from lactose intolerance. If I was forced to choose between hepatitis and lactose intolerance for me, I don't think it would be slam dunk that I would choose lactose intolerance. I have no idea in what unfortunate situation this type of decision may arise, but they are doing many good things with fighting hepatitis these days. Steve, Brian, and I would like to think that we were being generous when we purchased the party barge for our party of 11, but really we just wanted the opportunity to eat as much ice cream as we could handle and then drink whatever ice cream and topping soup remained at the bottom of the barge (or the "bilge" in ship parlance - see, you learned something today).

I'm proud of our kickball team this year. It was a far more competitive league and we ended up at around .500 ball after starting the season with a whole bunch of bad losses. Our team of ragtag kicking misfits really rallied and pulled together as a group and started playing some truly fundamental kickball - taking the extra base, advancing runners, knocking over opposing team's beer cups that are carelessly resting on the playing field. Way to go guys and girls!

On to more important things, specifically the party barge, you really need to consume one of these things. We bought this one from Rosie O'Grady's in Ferndale - a really beautiful remodeled bar and restaurant at Nine Mile just off of Woodward. I read somewhere that they recently completed their multimillion dollar renovation and upgrade, and it is an impressive and tasty place to eat party barges. I have no affiliation with this establishment, but I have got to appreciate a restaurant that is investing millions of dollars into itself in one of our many fantastic downtowns to beautify itself, the area, and of course just maybe to generate a little additional revenue. You would think 23 scoops of ice cream would be reason enough to eat somewhere, but no, they also offer 1/2 off pizzas on Monday night. That lactose intolerance thing again. If my stomach wasn't what it is, I would be writing this post from the toilet right now.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Further Evidence that I'm a Jerk

Today work was at my parents house instead of the usual locations because it sounds as if someone has installed a lawnmower in my laptop. It is the most annoying computer-related thing I've ever encountered. Every time the fan turns on, the entire computer starts to vibrate and make a noise that you could easily hear from across the room, if not on an entirely different floor. The computer works fine, but that sound, oh that sound. I've started to do things that I convince myself will fix the computer like "punch the fan area on the computer really hard" with the hope that repetitive punching will convince the fan to stop making noise. Not only does that risk serious actual damage to the laptop, it makes me look like an idiot punching my computer in the same place over and over again. I have a new fan module coming tomorrow so hopefully that will fix the problem, but in the meantime, my mom's laptop is the one spare computer I can get my hands on during the day.

Just moments ago, I was sitting at the kitchen table doing some coding, and that always-annoying mid-afternoon phone call came with the extended pause between me saying hello and the person on the other end of the phone saying hello. This almost always indicates some sort of telemarketer, and I think I may have written about something similar a few months ago (bonus quiz for my great fans! - have I? and if so, what was I talking about at that point because I have no idea). A split second before I hung up I got the broken "Hello?.....Mr....Ag......(seriously failed name attempt here)." Since I'm at my parents home, this person was referring to my father who is at work, so I had the joyous privilege to cut the person off halfway through the name attempt with a curt and clearly annoyed "I'm sorry he's not here." At this point I was feeling pretty superior and ready for the quick hang up, and this is exactly the moment when my opinion of myself took a painful and enduring hit.

You see, the person on the phone was calling on behalf on one of the Multiple Sclerosis Societies, thanking my dad for his support and to let him know his "packet" was on the way. This also means that the person that I was angry at for the delayed telephone response and terribly botched name was almost certainly a person with MS. Yes, I was feeling superior and smug talking to someone with multiple sclerosis because this person had slight trouble pronouncing my family's last name. Wow, it is not easy to recover from something like that. Why don't I just go outside and kick a homeless person or push over someone's wheelchair with that person still in the chair? I finished the call as cheerfully as possible, embarrassed and ashamed by my lack of patience and understanding. I wish I had a better answer when I think "what is wrong with me?" I also wish that I didn't have to ask myself that question so often.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Life is Unfair

Yesterday morning, I got home around noon, put my feet up, and watched TV for the next several hours. Pretty much everything went according to plan - I finished my run for the half marathon in less than my ideal time, my mom and her friend did great, I saw Maureen and my dad cheering, and I had the chance to cheer for Craig at the 26 mile mark. My stomach was not too upset at the end of the race, and by 5 o'clock, Steve and I had washed away a great quantity of our television backlog. It was a great day - the city of Detroit was alive, the sun was coming up as runners crossed over the Ambassador Bridge, the race was at maximum capacity, and people local and less local were celebrating life and health without any fear of Detroit. No fear of getting there early, walking around the streets to the starting line, running through the heart of downtown, and taking it easy on those same streets on the way back to everyone's cars.

And 3 people died.

These were people of different ages from different places running the half marathon, and they passed away at various locations along the race course. The medical examiner can not yet conclusively declare the cause of death, but each event was likely an unfortunate heart attack or a latent heart condition that manifested itself from the exertion of the run. It is impossible not to feel terrible for these people and their family and friends, and their passing is incredibly tragic. No one has died at the Detroit Marathon since 1994, and then this year on a nearly perfect day for running it happens three times. Not only was this a human tragedy, but also a geographical tragedy. Everyone is tied to the news of their locale, and here is yet another instance in which, through no likely fault of anyone, anywhere, the city of Detroit, state of Michigan, and their beleaguered people are again seen through the negative lens. There is no way to fight back or dispute the facts, just to again sit and wait for the jabs.

This morning I was listening to Howard Stern, who I believe has a firm appreciation for human life and does not take news like this lightly, but he quipped about how fast he would be able to run the Detroit Marathon just to get out of the streets (ha........ha) - another opportunity for those who do not live here and understand the acuteness of the local struggles to take some unobstructed pot shots at Michigan.

These are the types of moments that are utterly depressing to me despite my generally optimistic demeanor. A day of cheer and enthusiasm, replaced by tragedy, enhanced by insult, and what is left is completely undeserved shame. Why must I be made to be feel bad about my accomplishment and my home on a day of positive action?

With all that said, I don't really have a conclusion. Sometimes things just suck. When things suck, I am heartened by the vision of my wife asleep on the couch, TV with Steve, dinner with my family, the thought of the next video of my godson and his parents, and chasing Echo around the garage. Maybe I do have a conclusion from all this, though it is not at all original. I could write it out, but I'd like to think it is pretty clear, and I'm glad I figured it out before I hit "publish."

Friday, October 16, 2009

Cheer for This Guy

Less than 36 hours from now marks my annual dalliance with exercise - running the Detroit half marathon. That is far less impressive than running an actual marathon, but for the time it suits me quite well because I only have to train minimally and the negative post-marathon effects are non-existent. I can also enjoy the excitement of the complete event with half the displeasure, and I get to keep all my toenails.

However, my good buddy Craig (seen above) is running his first complete marathon this weekend. Go Craig! He's a real runner and is hoping to qualify for the Boston Marathon, so he will actually be trying hard. It's also cool that he could have done his first marathon in Chicago or somewhere like that, but he stuck with his home state and Detroit. It will be difficult for me to give him the appropriate amount of encouragement because I will likely be in the Port-A-Potty after I am done with my portion of the run, so it is up to the internet community that I have founded and adores me to cheer Craig on through the finish line. If you already are heading downtown Sunday morning to cheer for family or friends, please feel free to add Craig (and to a much lesser extent, me) to your list of people who's name you should yell loudly when you see that person. If you don't already have plans to go downtown for this purpose, what's your problem? Get downtown.

To give the perception that I write more than I actual do, I am going to cut and paste the entirety of a long marathon post that I wrote last year about the marathon experience in Detroit. It's funny because there are some things in there that are less accurate than they used to be, but that's OK because no one read it then, and no one will read it now. But look at how long it is!!

As I type, I am reminded by The Detroit Free Press Marathon website's countdown clock that the Detroit Marathon begins in 1 day, 22 hours, 3 minutes, and 38 seconds. For the purposes of being a little more clear, the marathon begins Sunday morning at just about 7:10 am. I have been involved with this run for either 4 or 5 years now - for the last two years I've run in the half marathon, the three years before that my family participated in the marathon relay, and I plan on running in the half marathon again on Sunday. We're not here to talk about my Grecian physique or my amazing commitment to health and being generally impressive. The Detroit Marathon is one of the single best events of the year for any person to feel connected to the State of Michigan and the largest city in our state. This connection through the run can most clearly be felt by those who are actually participating in the event, but it is also a great opportunity for friends, family, and spectators of the runners to be reminded of their love for Detroit.

Detroit is a city that is beautiful and haunting, and both the beauty and the haunt explode throughout the race course. Individuals start near the Theater District, run by the remains of old Tiger Stadium, twist through Mexican Town, cross over the Ambassador Bridge, run along the Windsor-side Detroit River bank looking back into our beautiful city, through the tunnel back into the D, around Belle Isle, through Indian Village, the Detroit River Walk, Greektown, and finish in Campus Martius. There is no better way to tour the city's sights, and in the past few runs, I have sincerely felt the urge to weep while running through many of these stoic Detroit landmarks. As the feet hit the pavement, the urge to protect this place, to help it grow and thrive, to see the city homes and proud or once-proud buildings, is amplified millions of times over during the marathon experience as the runner soaks in the surroundings. It's a little bit like what I perceive will be my heaven, except with painful legs. It is impossible not to contemplate what I can do - what we can do - to encourage, promote, and work toward the rebirth of this city over the course of the run.

Running in, out, around, and through the city that drew earlier generations of my family to this state makes me proud, energized, hopeful, and sad. I have found much happiness in this place called Michigan, and it is because of this city and industrial icons who found Detroit to be the right place to start their businesses. Believe it or not, Detroit, at one point in time, was the oasis of promise throughout the entire United States. Throughout the entire world. The sadness I feel during the run is because of the way that I now know the world perceives our city (OUR city) and our state, and how difficult and time-consuming it will be to change this perception. Detroit is perfect in its imperfection. It represents America - the historic opportunity for success and wealth, the damage from poor planning, racism, and lack of diversification, and the great optimism of a better future.

If you are running, walking, or cycling in one of the variants of the race on Sunday, great job(!), and take a moment to contemplate what the city of Detroit means to you over the course of the race. If you can't think of anything, determine if you have found some happiness in Michigan, and remember that the probable reason you are here is because of this city. If you're not in the marathon, I heartily encourage you to come downtown and cheer on the people who will be losing their toenails that evening. Your cheering helps more than you think, and maybe you, too, will strengthen your connection to Detroit.

If you see what looks like a beached humpback whale flailing his way through the course, the odds are good that you are looking at me. Send up a cheer for Ken or, perhaps, turn to the person to your side and say "That fella there writes quite the blog," and then proceed with my blog address.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Internet Has Failed You

I've been on board with the internet since late 2008 when my brother showed me a video of a fatso singing along and dancing to a German song. You can send a letter without a stamp, see a live view of the official times of the world (and broken out by time zone!), and check sports scores all the way out in California. What a Golden Age in which we live.

Information is valuable and nothing provides information better than the internet. One type of information is news, and one well-known and mostly reputable news source is This site serves me well for the most part, but tonight down at the bottom of the main page in their "From Our Partners" section there was a link to with the title "24 TV Characters Who Turn You Off". I admit, I was somewhat interested by the article because I'm a big fan of TV, and the phrase "Turn Me Off" was intentionally luring. Do these characters make me angry, turn me off to the show, turn me off sexually, or something else? Intriguing premise, and so I clicked on. The first character that popped up was Izzie from Grey's Anatomy. I have never watched nor will I ever watch this show, but this one made sense to me because lots of people these days seem unhappy with Katherine Heigl. I glanced at the description and clicked through to the next character who is Mohinder Suresh from Heroes. "Yeah," I'm thinking, "I see where they're going with this. Mohinder sucks." I clicked through to a few more characters with an increasing disagreement with the characters outlined by, until I realized that every character and the description of why they "turn you off" is written by someone as stupid as me - as far as I can tell it's just regular people describing characters in 2-3 sentences and why they don't like the character. took feedback from people, put all the feedback in a hat, and then pulled 24 names from this hat, put together a list that requires you to click through 24 times to see it all, and it is all from idiots. One such jewel from one idiot named Drew, seriously, is "I can't stand Miss Piggy." Really, And more importantly, really, Linked from your main web page? Really?

I know there is a lot of stupid stuff out there on the web, mostly because you are reading something stupid right now and I have been writing stupid things for over a year, but this is the most stupidest thing I have ever had the displeasure to read, enhanced by the fact that I was connected to this terrible, terrible list through

#1 on my list of internet thingies that Turn Me Off - this list from I'm having trouble controlling my anger just thinking about it. I feel both tricked and betrayed, with a hint of abused.

And I love Miss Piggy, so screw you Drew.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

They're Everywhere and We're the Best

I look out of my front window and what do I see? A street. If you do the same, there is at least a 99% chance that you will see the same thing - well, likely not the exact same thing but some approximate variation. Your mind = blown.

What's kind of cool is that of the 12 total streets in the entire United States, (number is estimated) the American Planning Association of America (I surprisingly did not make this organization up) has organized a list of 10 "Great Streets" in America for 2009 and 20% of this list is comprised of streets found in Michigan. Up yours North and South Dakota! For the non-analytically inclined, 20% of 10 is 2, so that's not all that many, but 2 out of 10 ain't bad. My thanks to Todd M. for the tip* - I'm not sure why is he spending time at the website for the American Planning Association so you'll have to find and ask him yourself, but I think we can all appreciate the combination of planning, organizations for a common purpose, and also America.

I don't know what constitutes a great street to this association, but it's always nice to be recognized for something, even if it is a combination of concrete, vertical concrete barriers (curbs), additional concrete outside of the barriers (sidewalks), and then vertical brick indicating the conclusion of the additional concrete (buildings). First up on the list from Michigan is South Main Street in wonderful Ann Arbor. Ann Arbor both rocks and rolls, and Main Street is the primary artery for the city. I have spent hundreds if not thousands of hours on Main and/or institutions along Main, and it is a perfect place to spend warm afternoons and late nights. Other things that are cool and directly related to Main Street and me are that time I met Jimmy Fallon there, my brother plays Irish music at Conor O'Neill's on Main every Sunday night, and the location of my first date with Maureen. If these three things together don't sell you on the greatness of the street, you are a jerk. Spend some time on Main Street and if you go into any of the bars or restaurants, tell every person helping you out that "Ken sent you." No one will have a clue what you are talking about and you may be ushered out for being peculiar, but wouldn't it be great if someone had a clue who and what you were talking about? Yeah.

Next up on the list is a street I can only assume exists because it is on the list - Front Street in Traverse City. For this one, I feel like Wayne and Garth in Wayne's World the movie trying to sell the positive qualities of Delaware - "Hi, I'm in Delaware" - because I have never been to Front Street and have spent woefully little time in Traverse City. If this makes me a terrible Michigan blogger, so be it. I apologize to Front Street and all the good people of TC (that's what those of us who have almost never been to TC call it) for my ignorance, but I can only assume that you have a great street on your hands because the American Planning Association tells me so. Way to represent the state, and keep up your cherry-loving ways.

We should all feel lucky that we have something 41 other states in the U.S. don't have - great 2009 streets as determined by the best damn planning association in the world, the American Planning Association.

*For everyone else who is kind enough to send me a link and I fail to post about it, I am sorry but thank you so much. I do read everything that everyone shares with me so keep them coming, but I have determined that I must at least give the outward appearance to employers that I do more than just blog.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

3rd and X


Collegiate Football Question

This is something I've noticed a few times over the course of this college football season, most importantly it came up a few times last week in UM's loss to MSU. There was another instance of this just one moment ago in the Iowa game and it is really bugging and confusing me, so I was hoping someone out there may have an easy and quick answer for me.

Why, when a football player goes out of bounds (not tackled in bounds and then the play carried them out of bounds), the clock stops temporarily and then starts again? I'm not talking about the play clock, I'm talking about the game clock. What is the deal with that? Isn't the clock supposed to remain stopped until the next play is snapped? My entire football memory consists of a stopped clock when someone goes out of bounds until the next play begins. This is going to bother me until I have an answer, and even after that I'll still probably be bothered because it causes time to run off the clock when it should be at a standstill. We don't have much opportunity to control time in our lives, so it's not fair to have one of the instances in which we can taken away.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Harvard Is Dangerous

Straight from the internets, I read today that National Science Foundation (NSF) is granting Harvard University $10 M to explicitly terrorize me. No, they are not determining additional ways to shrink marshmallows in my life, they are in the process of developing robo-bees (Maureen suggested Ro-Bee-Bots, which is appropriately clever for my highbrow sense of humor). National Science Federation, what are you thinking? While we're at it, perhaps we can identify new and exciting methods to slam my hand in a door. Robotic bees? Of all of the things in the world, I am most afraid of bees, and robotic bees sound even worse than regular bees. This is a recipe for complete disaster when the bees become self-aware and start a war against regular bees in which the robot bees learn how to shoot their robotic stingers against the real bees and humans start to fall in the crossfire.

NSF, here's a better idea - use the money for....something remotely useful with far less risk of angry robotic bees. Has no one in this organization seen any of the Terminator movies? If you are going to robotize anything, it should almost definitely be butterflies. Butterflies pollinate, are pretty, and most importantly, I am not terrified of them. On top of the robotic bees, there are all kinds of other terrifying things going on at this school. Have you seen Fringe? In a basement at Harvard, they have the ability to hook up a person in a sensory deprivation tank to a deceased brain that somehow still has brain activity and then they can share a series of memories until the deceased mind helps the living person solve a series of adventures and mysteries. At Harvard!! This is not safe.

For these and no other reasons (including not granting me an interview, just the bees thing) I stand against you Harvard, the University of Michigan of the East.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Yesterday in Review

Yesterday was a bit of a roller coaster day with a few ups and many downs for me, culminating in the defeat of the Detroit Tigers. I love you and I will always love you Tigers, even if you have another season in which you lose 119 games. For no other reason other than I want to, here is a brief review of my day yesterday followed by a few ironic moments from the big baseball game.

Bad - Had to wake up earlier than usual to get to the airport to go to California
Good - Airplane left on time
Bad - Airplane had to turn around after 30 minutes in the air because pilot thought we might have hit a bird/flock on takeoff (also bad, birds getting hit by airplane)
Good - Did not die from bird strikes
Bad - Had to wait for an hour to re-board a new plane
Good - There was another plane available to re-board in the middle of the day
Bad - After re-boarding plane, luggage guys loaded plane, were missing bag, unloaded plane, rescanned all bags, still missing bag, waited another hour, and then eventually the missing bag magically reappeared
Good - One person had underpants to wear today who otherwise would not have
Bad - The airplane did not weigh the right amount, resulting in another 60 minute wait where I guess they put us on a scale or something
Good - Got extra pretzels for being good-natured after we eventually took off
Bad - had to take the stupid SFO monorail to the rental car center. Way less fun than Disney's monorail
Good - No line at rental car place
Bad - Literally no cars available when I made it to the garage. I ended up with a freaking electric blue KIA with 42,000 miles on it, no key fob, several scratches, and it feels like it's going to fall apart when I hit the accelerator
Good - I did not kill anyone after my travels
Bad - Tigers Lost
Good - I did not kill anyone after Tigers lost

It was a weird day, but all of the sins of the day could have been forgiven if the Tigers could have pulled it off. Here are a few things that I noticed about the game yesterday that were notable and largely ironic:
  • Gerald Laird, the guy who said the Tigers were "in the driver's seat" a few weeks ago, struck out after a 3-1 count with the bases loaded and two outs in extra innings
  • Brandon Inge, after getting hit by a pitch, grounded into a fielder's choice at home with the bases loaded and only one out. Just before that, Brandon Inge had a double to put the Tigers in the lead. He also made a diving play that temporarily saved the game - so he saved, ruined, and saved the game in 1 hour
  • Miguel Cabrera, likely still drunk and booed like crazy, was almost nearly the star of the world with a big two run homerun
  • Magglio Ordonez, goat for the first 3/4 of the season, had a huge home run to tie the game up after the Tigers fell behind
  • Ryan Raburn, after screwing up the Tiger's chance to win on a terrible sliding catch attempt, temporarily saved the game with an amazing throw to home plate later in that same inning (with a good tag by Laird, who, as we all know, struck out with the bases loaded)
  • Placido Polanco, the guy who never strikes out, struck out with runners on first and third and no outs. TBS technology indicated it was a ball, thereby screwing the Tigers.
  • The Twin who Ryan Raburn threw out at home because of bad base running had the winning hit
There was more, but I have since forgotten because all the salt from my tears damaged my brain. It was a great game, but sometimes I'm convinced God is still mad at us for the race riots. Come on, God, I wasn't even alive at that time. Can't anyone give Detroit a break?

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Tangential Marriage Benefit

So far, being married seems quite similar to being not married - except now I have the privilege to live with Maureen and we get to spend more time together. The marriage can and likely will evolve over the next weeks and months, but many things are largely the same for now. It could be that we had dated for quite awhile before we actually got married so there weren't any of those married "surprises" you hear about, I'm not sure, but I'm looking forward to whatever the future brings.

I have, however, identified one major unanticipated benefit of marriage over the past month. Mostly this is a benefit because I am a gigantic sissy, but it is a benefit nonetheless. This has to do with various people offering me things I do not want, and how I can now, guilt free, respond to these people.

"I'm sorry I have to talk it over with my wife first."

This has nothing to do with who makes the decisions or the ability of one or the either of us to unilaterally choose something, it is simply an excuse for me to slink out of an uncomfortable sales pitch. If the person offering the deal pushes a little bit harder, I can go to plan A-2:

"I understand this is a fantastic offer, but I'm a newlywed and I can't do anything to get myself into trouble this early in the marriage." And with that, my nemesis understands that he is defeated and lets me go. If you have no problem lying, I recommend this approach to dismissing all telemarketers. If you really, really hate saying no to people, consider getting married to someone you meet on the street for this benefit. Could getting married really be worse than paying for HBO that you don't really want?