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SPORTS (permalink) 04.30.2001
I could have been a contender
Marty was recently bragging to a mutual friend on my ability to skip like the wind. I can actually skip faster than I can run, and I bet that with some time, training and commitment, many of you could as well. My question is why has this fundamental form of human movement and transportation been so overlooked by not only us as a public but also by the sporting world at large. I for one would like to see the 10K skip introduced to annual events, and why not at the Olympic level. I mean they have medals for shuffleboard or some shuffleboard like activity. Where?s the justice in that?

HOW-TO, FOOD (permalink) 04.27.2001
Make Red Heaven
Just in time for spring, I offer the following frosty beverage to complement these wonderfully breezy days, assuming your climate is in such a state at this time. Several of the restaurants I wandered into in the Pacific Northwest served this modest derivation to our mid-west staple. Up there in volcano country, they sexy up there lemonade by adding strawberries. A traveling mate intuited the mechanics of this concoction and passed it on. I have since served it up at several social gatherings and the frothy grog has been a raving success. So allow me to share this simple recipe so you may also spread liquid joy to any guests you may entertain in the summer months.

Ingredients: 1 container frozen lemonade concentrate, 1 square of frozen strawberries and water.

Directions: Empty contents of Lemonade, Strawberries and 1 lemonade container of water into blender. Mix well and pour into serving pitcher. Add remaining water as directed by lemonade instructions and enjoy.

SOCIETY, HYGIENE (permalink) 04.26.2001
Can I get this haz-mat suit in a mauve?
I?ve noticed an evolution in the food industry?s policy on plastic gloves. When initially implemented this prophylactic measure protected consumers from any contaminants the server may have been exposed to. Now their primary function seems to provide a protective barrier between the wearer and the public at large. Back in the day, you?d see employees swap these gloves out with surgeon like ethics, donning a fresh pair with each new customer or task. As of late I get the impression, they go on in the morning and are discarded out the car window on the way home.

This morning I watched a gloved waitperson pause from her chore of preparing turkey sandwiches for the lunch rush, to ring me out at her register. In this side-mission she handled my beverage, the cash register, the cash I gave her as well as the change she returned only to resume her prior burden of piling mounds of shaved turkey on cheese-laden buns with the same gloved hand. The only thing I?m certain to have left that transaction germ-free was her epidermis. Now don?t get me wrong, as I?ve alluded to in the past, I would more than consider sporting a form-fitting body suit made of the sheerest, yet non-permeable material possible, so I don?t blame them, I simply take issue in that I am not one of them.

SOCIETY (permalink) 04.25.2001
snot-nosed punks
Billy Gates gets honest to a group of high school students. While his 11 rules smacks of a Chris Rock spiel I gotta homage the guy for leaving his politically correct promotional machine even if only to garner some press buzz.

WEB (permalink) 04.24.2001
Hables Espanol?
Justin Yunke can?t sleep at night. People are mistaking my friend and his domain for the popular Puerto Rican rainforest, Yunke National Forest. He regularly receives inquiries about the park and pedestrian requests for information. The major problem here, a great majority of these inquiries are written in Spanish, a language he has not mastered. In defense, he tried responding to said messages in the most basic English possible, explaining that he was neither the actual park nor in any way affiliated with it. This routinely resulted in more email from the original sender, not understanding his reply. Frustrated, Justin attempted a new tactic. For every email he received in this foreign tongue he simply replied with the following: ?Yo tengo el tocadisco? which translates to ?I have the record player?. This has surprisingly cured his dilemma and saves him from fending off these redundant queries. Justin es muy intelligente!

FRIENDS (permalink) 04.23.2001
This is the big one!
Mike and Buddy James stopped in over the weekend on their way to Charlotte, NC from Smallsville, KS. While sitting around re-hashing old tales and witticisms I thought Buddy and I were going to have to give Mike the hindlick maneuver when he started laughing uncontrollably at a story of a guy I went to high school with who had a horrific case of dandruff. The cause of his ailment came about because no one in his family bought shampoo for several months. This guy's interim solution was to wash his hair with a bar of Coast. While this innovation may seem sound, over time it resulted in drying his scalp out to the point of having white flakes falling out of his hair like snow and hanging all in his beard as if he just ate a loaf of Wonder bread without the use of his hands. I'm sure it was a "had to be there" kinda moment, but thanks for pulling through Mikey in that had you fallen, we would have been forced to reference the incident on your tombstone.

SOCIETY (permalink) 04.19.2001
Give us your weak, poor and highly intelligent
People who gripe about "all those damn foreigners coming to the states and taking American jobs" make me wild. Just stop it already. First off, the jobs these individuals 'steal' predominately represent work that the native faction either does not want to do (migrant field worker) or are lacking enough people with skill (technology) to fill. Much of this can be attributed to the majority of our citizens not force-feeding the three R's down the throats of their children as well as growing kids who feel they occupy a particular station in life (pre-achievement) and are above many forms of menial labor. This parenting philosophy results in an ill-equipped workforce therefore crippling our highly demanding and specialized needs.

Secondly, recognize that importing human talent works in our favor. America is absolutely raping the intellectual wealth of the world. Other countries expend their public resources making their offspring smart only to have them plucked from their population as soon as they are ready to contribute. You see, this is a good thing for us and a very bad thing for them and we as a society benefit significantly through this dynamic.

A side facet to this debate I find irksome falls into the equal opportunity squabble. What percentage of people screaming about the loss of American jobs are the same dolts griping about quotas and equal opportunity acts ("The best candidate should get the job"). Well, guess what Clyde, sometimes the best or most willing candidate doesn't speak your native tongue. So instead of preaching about this or that atrocity why don't you get qualified so you do not have to worry about some bloke from here and there taking a job you were not ideal for in the first place.

TELEVISION (permalink) 04.18.2001
You are NOT the weakest link!
Survivor is a freak, millionaire a bore and boot camp an insult. For finely tuned entertainment that has withstood the test of time (albeit in Britain) tune in and turn up The Weakest Link. During an Isabella respite, Walt and I caught this curiosity and by shows end found ourselves cheering and jeering the panelist and frothy facilitator. This one's an absolute keeper and I recommend it to all.

SOCIETY (permalink) 04.17.2001
I think these people are leaving
I spied a parking rage battle last night at the local giga-mall. From what I can gather, both parties darted for the same spot and then got into a bitter shouting match concerning its rightful owner. I never really understood people?s compulsion for getting the closest possible spot to the door, evil weather excepted. The more crowded places get the further I park away from the morass, and I?m not talking about that catawampus muscle car park job that defines great men. The practice I?m speaking of entails pointing my mobile down an aisle and not necessarily slashing into the first available spot, but just getting into a spot. As result I many times suffer the agony of walking five extra car widths (widths, not lengths mind you). Now while this methodology may not prove, on paper, to be the most efficient, I do find myself arriving at my destination impressively faster than the lap hound who?s seeking the Costanza like alpha spot. And, much like the elevator practices of our fellow man, it seems to be the one?s who would most benefit from the extra leg-play that are taking their chances on yet another shell-game of life. Is it any wonder SUVs only get 4 miles to the gallon.

STORYTIME (permalink) 04.16.2001
Stick em up
A pal shared a story with me about a friend of their family who was a pilot for one of the major airlines. His route ran from St. Louis to New York and he regularly killed time in the big apple. One day while walking about town a young man bumped into him quite hard on the sidewalk of a crowded street. He briefly glared at the fellow but kept on. About ten paces later he instinctively patted his chest jacket for his wallet and found it to be gone. He whipped around and yelled at the kid who turned startled and when the very tall man, fully adorned in his pilot?s outfit, began moving towards him, took off running. This stout and athletic bombardier soon caught up to the youth, pushed him against the wall and barked ?The Wallet!!!? The kid immediately relinquished the item and the captain pocketed it and moved on impressed with his resolve to so readily correct the problem.

Later that day after returning to his hotel room, he began emptying his pockets and realized before dropping even the first item that he was staring down at his own worn and familiar wallet on the table which he apparently left behind. The story goes on that he later returned the victim?s wallet, unaltered, in a manila envelope with no return address on it.

Now while the original conveyer of this tale seemed quite sincere, every time I tell it to someone, it greatly smacks of things that urban legends are made of. To date, I?ve never had anyone call me on it which typically happens with such tales, nor have I had someone else report hearing the scenario in regard to another friend of a distant relation. Regardless of its legitimacy, it stands as one of my favorite yarns.

COMPUTER (permalink) 04.12.2001
What's this I spy...Customer Service?
You never know how much you love something until it?s gone. I experienced said angst when the DVD in my computer went south on me. I soon discovered that 95% of the work I did was conducted with American Beauty, The Matrix or Aliens running up in the top right corner of my monitor. A friend suggested I call Creative Labs to complain about the short lifespan of their device. I reluctantly did only to hear, ?shoot it to us and we?ll get a new one out to you.? A few short days later I was greeted in my mailbox with a brand new and functioning replacement. Anyone who facilitates my 97th viewing of Lester Burnham and Ricky Fitz scores mega-points in my book. Kudos Creative.

STORYTIME (permalink) 04.10.2001
Ok kids, gather round...
Many have asked, some have received, but none are sated when it comes to the fabled tale of BirdMan. Always aiming to please I can no longer deny the masses what is rightfully theirs. So I present to the community the first and only available printing of the happenings and events that transpired on that oppressive July 3rd day on the Arch grounds of downtown St. Louis. Without further delay I invite you to personally experience The Legend of the Birdman.

STORYTIME (permalink) 04.09.2001
Where'd that kid go?
I overheard a few teachers Marty works with reminiscing about some of the best pranks pulled in the school over the years. While many were fairly pedestrian, one stood out as the inspired work of a true craftsman. Several years back a rather anonymous student, who I will call Joe, informed one of his teachers, who I will call Mr. Kent, that his family was moving and the next day would be his last. For whatever reason, Mr. Kent devised a scheme and asked Joe and a fellow faculty member to participate.

On the following day in what would be Joe?s last class (unbeknownst to all present), Mr. Kent entered the room with a principal in tow and advised the governing teacher that they needed to speak to Joe. Joe started frantically looking around and began pleading with his current teacher to not let them take him. The conspirators then went to Joe?s seat and forcibly removed him while he white-knuckled the desk, not letting go. They ultimately tore him loose and carried him out of the room while he screamed and begged in protest. The door slammed shut as they exited and that was the last anyone ever saw of Joe.

As I said, the inspired work of a genius.

WALL-O-WONDER, TELEVISION (permalink) 04.05.2001
Why couldn't I have said Jennifer Love Hewitt
I started watching Party of Five in its second to last season. Soon after, I made the immense error in judgment of telling some guys that I had a romantic dream involving Claudia Salinger (Lacey Chabert). At the time I was watching the show, she was getting ready to go off for college. What I didn't realize was that for many true fans who have been with the show from the start, these guys included, Claud started as a precocious whelp of like 6 who used to sleep in a tent in the living room. They mentioned this to me amidst guffaws but the actual import of their mockery didn't hit until I caught a rerun where she was in this tent-phase. I immediately grasped the felonious appearance of my tale and immediately sought them out to retract and explain away my earlier confession hence putting the legend to rest. But being friends of mine and possessing a wicked sense of humor, years later I opened a wedding card to find the following memento inside.

MUSIC (permalink) 04.04.2001
the 150 song compilation CD ... get yours now
The greatest caveat to ill-fortune is that you are bound for things to pick up around the corner. Such is the case with my car stereo. If one gets swiped, a replacement gets bought. In my case the stand-in serves as a significant upgrade at half the cost. I made it my mission to locate an MP3 capable in dash CD player. At the time of this writing, unearthing such a unit was no small task. If you have not done similar research, prepare to be dumbfounded.

One could say that the car stereo industry does not have their finger on the pulse of the people, but that would be a grotesque understatement. All the major players have absolutely neglected the current phenomenon known as MP3 and Napster. For the few that did try to get their arms around it, only one did it right. They also happen to be the first to market. Aiwa produced the first and almost exclusive head unit that possesses the basic functionality anyone with an internet connection and cd burner would seek. The others are now scrambling to meet the demand but are all eons away from actually putting product in the hands of the consumer. Given this, I would direct anyone with a similar thirst to AIWA's CDC-MP3.

TRAVEL (permalink) 04.02.2001
I now know where Seven was filmed
The second half of my recent trip to Oregon was spent on the slopes of Mt. Bachelor. As we all know the Pacific Northwest touts copious amounts of rainfall annually. The ski resorts are surprisingly not exempt from this characteristic. Saturday, after renting our equipment, a woman tried to give me a sleeveless plastic bag to wear for protection from the rain. I readily dismissed her with a wave of my hand and the furrowed brow I am known for. I didn't come all this way to ski with a garbage bag draped about my torso.

Four hours later, in the upper lodge for lunch I peeled through five layers of waterlogged clothing. I now regretted my earlier decision. Jetting down a mountain in 30-degree weather when you could boil pasta in the amount of water you are toting in your clothes is not my idea of healthy recreation. But when the lift ticket is expired and you're back in front of the fireplace, the fact still stands that a wet day of skiing beats a dry day of nothing on this Colorado-boy's checklist.

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