Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Reply To All

There is a reason that every single email program includes both "Reply" and "Reply to All" functionality. There is a difference. If there wasn't, there would only be one button. "Reply" means that you will simply reply to the person who sent you the email, no one else. "Reply to All" means that you will reply to everyone included on the list of emails that the sender added to the To: or CC: fields. This is a very important distinction that very few people seem to grasp. It will save the rest of us lots of time deleting your email that we don't give two shits about.

If you have any questions, please contact me. I'm more than happy to help you stop being a douchebag.

People Hate People

The gym I belong to is currently running an incentive program where we get to put various candy canes on Christmas trees for every half hour that we work out. There are three colors of candy canes and each color represents a different charity. Red represents the Lake County Haven (a home for battered women), blue represents Small Miracles (a charity for kids with cancer - much like Make-A-Wish) and green represents Kay's Animal Shelter (an animal shelter for animals). Each charity will receive a donation based on the number of candy canes placed on the tree.

I look at those choices and think, "Well, this is certainly a no-brainer. I'll rotate between the dying children and the battered women." You know, because it makes sense that I'd want to help out my fellow humans during the Christmas season. I would think that most people would feel the same way. However, the majority of candy canes on the tree are green.

If you were to witness an accident where a child walking his dog was struck by a car and both the boy and dog were lying on the ground in need of CPR to save their lives, would you administer CPR to the dog first? That is essentially what these people are doing. By placing a green candy cane on the tree you are saying, "Fuck the sick kids and battered women. There's a homeless dog that really needs my help."

Do people hate people that much? Or is the furry cuteness of an animal too much to resist? If you choose to support the animal shelter over the human charities it makes you a bad human being at worst and a cynic at best. Don't try to give me the, "Well, at least the dog won't grow up to be a neo-Nazi or criminal. Animals are innocent." Talk to the family on Chicago's south side who just had their innocent daughter mauled by a pit bull.

On the other hand, if Kay's Animal Shelter puts the majority of these animals to sleep then I'll buy my own bag of green candy canes for the tree.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

I Don't Want My MTV

I don't watch music videos. I never have. Even when my family finally got cable and we had MTV and VH1 and they were forbidden by my mother I didn't watch them. Well, I did briefly to see why they were forbidden. When I turned them on, I realized why my mom bothered to make such a silly rule: watching the shit on those channels would turn me into a mindless dolt. I prefered to listen to my music in my room and let the songs create the images and guide the thoughts in my head. I found most videos disappointing because they either completely distracted you from the music to the point you don't realize you're listening to a song or they sucked so bad it made me dislike a song I had previously enjoyed.

My disinterest and dislike of MTV and VH1 has had some interesting repercussions. A list:
1) I judge music solely on the music.
2) I almost always say "yes" when someone asks me if I've seen a music video (even though I definitely haven't) because they always end up describing it anyway and it keeps the conversation moving.
3) I only know about Puck from hearing people talk about him.
4) People think I'm a Republican.
5) I miss out on some great videos like that one Radiohead video.
6) I don't get a lot of references in improv shows.
7) I sometimes feel detached from my generation.
8) People think I'm an elitist or snob or both.
9) People say, "You haven't seen the ______ video?! WHAT?!"
10) I never took Kurt Loder seriously.

Careful What You Wish For...

Oh yeah, T.O.

I love that he won't be playing football for the rest of the year. He'll have plenty of time for his "sprained ankle" to heal. By the way, we all know he's faking all of these injuries, right? I mean, the dude came back from a broken ankle in record time to play in the Super Bowl (and play well, I might add). He's not hurt. It doesn't matter now.

Here's the thing:
This is exactly what T.O. wants. He has realized that the Eagles aren't going to win a Super Bowl this year with or without him. McNabb is too banged up to be as effective as he has been in the past. There is no running game. The team is 4-3. He wants out. He wants to go play for a team that has a shot at the Super Bowl. He's going to get that shot now. It won't happen this season, but next year he'll be cut and some contender will pick him up. And he will be just fine, practically a model player - until the team starts losing. Then he'll start blasting teammates and causing trouble and it will all start again.

I say to the Eagles, don't cut him. Don't let him play. Pay him his full seven year contract and let him rot for the next five years and see if anyone wants him after that. This will never happen, but it's what I want to happen.

A smart team will pick him up, get his help to win a Super Bowl and cut him. He's only good on your team for one winning season and then he'll tear you apart. Learn from this, NFL.

Big Win, Big Confidence

Colts win. No matter what anyone says about how it's "just another game" this was a big win. Tony is right, if the Colts had lost, they would still be okay. However, this win was important to getting the Colts to a place where they can win a Super Bowl. This game wasn't so much about the Colts finally "getting over the hump" and beating the Patriots. This was about this Colts team going into a hostile environment and thumping a good team. Don't get me wrong, I'm not pretending that this Patriots team is the same team that send the Colts home last January, but they are still a good team.

The most encouraging thing I saw last night was that the Colts came out with determination and confidence. At 14-7 Peyton threw an interception, but nobody panicked. The defense came out and forced a fumble. From that point on the Colts rolled. That's the point. The Colts are the better team right now and they played that way. They should have beaten the Pats soundly and they did. That's what is encouraging about this game. For the first time since they've been contenders, they looked like they believe they are contenders.

(This part of the post is mostly for Bill Simmons)
Also, did anyone see the end of the game when everything went to shit? The Colts scored their last touchdown (Manning to Harrison) to go up 40-21 and then set up to go for two. This pissed off the crowd (what was left of it) and then Belichick threw the red flag for a review of a play that was clearly a touchdown. I hate to say this because the Pats have handled their winning with class and are a likeable team despite their success, but this reeked of poor sportsmanship. Belichick knew that there was no way the play would be overturned and he was just trying to interrupt the flow of the game and buy his defense some rest by effectively getting a timeout via review.

Now, I'm sure many people will say that the Colts going for two in the fourth quarter up 40-21 is bad sportsmanship as well. However, I can see why they did. They are playing the Patriots and Tom Brady is known for turning it on in the fourth quarter and stealing games. When you are up 19 points, the other team has to score three times to win. If you are up 21 points, they have to score four times. Three scores? Highly unlikely, but possible (the Colts did it against the Bucs the year of the Bucs Super Bowl). Four scores? No way.

I'm willing to bet big money that this whole fiasco is a major focus of Simmons' next article. And he'll take the "we were disrespected" angle. Also, how about that crowd bailing on the Pats in the fourth quarter? Everybody left. It's easy to stick around when you're 14-2 and beating everyone. Much harder to stick with your team when you're 4-3 and taking a beating from a team you've owned.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

I'm Sticking With Listerine, Thanks

On Tuesday, my gym gave out free samples of Crest Pro-Health Rinse. This is a new alcohol free mouthwash that is touted to "Kill germs that cause: Bad Breath, Plaque and Gingivitis" without the "burning" of other mouthwashes. Sounds good, no?

Unfortunately, there are three major problems with the Crest Pro-Health Rinse:
1) It tastes like butt.
2) The taste of butt never leaves your mouth.
3) It tastes like butt.

Sure, there's no "burning" sensation when you swish. That "burning" sensation is replaced by a "tastes like butt" sensation. I'll take burning any day - at least I feel like it's working. My mouth feels clean after rinsing with Listerine. My mouth feels like butt after rinsing with Crest Pro-Health Rinse. Also note that the flavor listed on the bottle is "Refreshing Clean Mint." I did not mistakenly grab "Nasty Ass Butt" flavor. However, it appears that Crest has confused the two and I paid dearly.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Random Thoughts

Seeing four naked men in the locker room huddle around an iPod nano really speaks to the power of gagetry over the male mind.

Handjobs are underrated.

The clock is ticking. You'll be dead sooner than you think.

I'm pretty sure I fart a lot more than the average human. I may even be setting some kind of farting record that I'm unaware of.

Waiting is the hardest part. Especially at amusement parks.

If you call my phone and I don't answer, it's because I hate you.

The hardest part of being in a relationship is buying gifts.

What you are doing right now will probably give you cancer.

TiVo has made me realize that my roommate watches a lot of crap TV.

Iron Chef, however, is delightful.

Ignorance is a powerful tool.

Can I get a clear wristband that reads, "WRISTBAND"?

Water is both refreshing and deadly.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Weekend Football Thoughts

I couldn't be more excited about this football season. Yesterday was the first full Sunday of NFL games, and Saturday was the second week of what is already an exciting college football season. You see, I love football. It's the one thing I think about almost as much as sex. Needless to say, the fall is my favorite time of year. This year, there are two developments that have made this football season even more exciting.

1) NFL Sunday Ticket and TiVo
2) Notre Dame's new football coach, Charlie Weis

Last season, I grew tired of not being able to watch every Colts game - or even most of them. I live in Chicago and if the Bears and Colts played at the same time, the networks would only show the Bears game. There are very few things worse than being forced to watch a Bears game when you are not a fan of the team (even if you are a fan, sometimes). This led me to drop my cable provider, switch to DirecTV and order NFL Sunday Ticket. This guarantees that I will be able to see every Colts game this season regardless of what the networks air. I also opted for TiVo so that I can be sure to see every play of every game (I often have rehearsals on Sunday afternoons). All of this ensures that I will be able to watch every little step of the Colts' journey towards the Super Bowl.

Charlie Weis, former offensive coordinator of the three-time Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots, is now the head coach of Notre Dame, my alma mater. He's already done one heck of a job. The Notre Dame offense looks much better than it has in about five years and the Irish already have two wins against top-25 teams, Pitt (23) and Michigan (3). The defense is solid and this fast start is very promising. Most importantly, the Irish look like they believe they will win. Confidence is underrated in this game.

On to my thoughts on this weekend's football action:

1) GO IRISH! Big win in the Big House. The defense saved this game for the Irish. I'm concerned about how sloppy the offense looked in the second half. I need to see this offense play well for a whole game before I start talking BCS.

2) I couldn't be happier that Ohio State lost. They really deserve as many heartbreaking losses as possible.

3) The Citadel put a scare into Florida St. in the first half. FSU may be the most overrated team in the top 25.

4) Anything can happen in a rivalry game. Iowa isn't that bad.

5) Brady looked really sharp against the Raiders. Analysts are talking about how they saw a ton of red flags for the Pats in this game. I think it was pretty much standard Patriots fare. They do exactly what they need to win the game and not much more.

6) Jets fans, remember that it's week one. Anyone can have a game like Pennington. The Jets aren't that bad. The Chiefs aren't that good.

7) Let's not all jump on Nick Saban's cock just yet. Remember, Jake Plummer is Denver's quarterback. I can't say that enough.

8) I really hope that the Saints win on Sunday brought some much-needed joy to the folks of New Orleans.

9) The Bills should wear their throwbacks every week.

10) Chris Berman needs to stop. Please, please stop. You are neither funny nor clever. Sure, you did a lot to bring a unique style to ESPN but there are about 20 people that do it better now. Including Mike Hall.

11) San Francisco, Seattle, St. Louis and Arizona are all in the same division. This division will not be won, it will be not lost.

12) The Colts defense kept them in the game last night for the first time since before Peyton took a snap. This is encouraging.

13) One word for the Packers: Ouch.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

A Week In the Woods

The t-shirts read, “Birch Camp: It’s more than just a week in the woods.” The t-shirts are right. Last week, I spent a week in Putnam Valley, NY volunteering at Birch Camp – a camp for families and kids with HIV/AIDS. I spent my time there as a Sports Counselor and I stayed in a cabin with the 7-10 year-old boys. That means that during the day, I played sports with all of the different age groups and at night I helped wrangle the 7-10 year-old boys and get them into bed. No small task.

We had eight boys in our cabin and they were all rambunctious – some more than others. Rarely did we get them to bed “on time.” Mostly we were just satisfied with getting them into their beds doing something other than shouting or fighting.

During the daylight hours, my job as Sports Counselor was to try to make the kids as tired as possible while also showing them a good time. Therefore, we spent a lot of time playing soccer (with an oversized ball – about 3 feet in diameter), ultimate Frisbee and a game unique to Birch Camp called Ga-Ga. Most of the kids really enjoy these games, but what they really look forward to is the waterslide that we set up for the last two days of camp. We roll out a 25-30 foot plastic tarp, wet it down and coat it with baby shampoo then we dunk the kids in a very cold, very large bucket of water and send them down the hill. They love it – and so do the counselors. Everyone gets wet and muddy because everyone always ends up sliding past the end of the slide and creating a big mud pit at the bottom.

There are myriad other activities such as arts and crafts, fishing, boating, swimming, etc. Also, there are plenty of campfires and goofy camp songs just like at any summer camp. However, none of these things is what makes Birch Camp great. It’s the people, the freedom, the hugs and the emotion that make Birch Camp the kind of place that can change your life.

The families that come to Birch Camp are all from New York City – most often some of the worst parts of New York City. Birch Camp gives these families a chance to forget about their problems at home and just escape for a week of fun in the woods with a bunch of strangers that will soon become some of their closest friends.

You spend every day getting to know some wonderful kids and parents and as the week passes by you share touching moments and many, many hugs. It’s amazing how quickly you become attached to the kids and how quickly they become attached to you. The end of the week culminates in an event called “Reflections” where each age group gets to do a little skit about their week at camp. The parents always go last and usually sing/hum a song in the background while they each take turns talking about how much they love their children. Within seconds, the entire room is in tears. This final “skit” slowly becomes a big love fest with children and parents and counselors exchanging hugs and thank yous for a great week at camp. You’ll even see the toughest of kids with tears in their eyes giving people hugs who they’ve given nothing but gruff all week.

In the end, you walk away from camp with a profound sadness because you miss the kids you were so close to all week, but you can’t help but feel spiritually refreshed and filled with hope because you spent an entire week seeing some of the best of humanity.

I can’t do Birch Camp justice with my words. It has to be experienced to be understood.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Thinking

I was thinking the other day about a thought I was thinking of thinking about, but I thought I had forgotten the thought I was thinking of. I think the thought that escaped me was a thought about the thought I was thinking of thinking about. So I forgot about the thought about the thought I was thinking of thinking about and began to think directly about the thought I was thinking of thinking about. Unfortunately, the thinking about the thought I was thinking of thinking about required much more thinking than I had originally thought and I had to cut my thinking short. So now I’m left with a partial thought about the thought I was thinking of thinking about and a complete thought about a thought on the thought I was thinking of thinking about. I think.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Random Thoughts

Some random thoughts that I've had while sitting around my apartment watching TiVoed "The Daily Show":

Jewel's Law:
When you forget your Jewel Card, everything you buy could have been discounted; when you bring your Jewel Card, nothing you buy can be discounted.

You learn a lot about Jeff by knowing that the last place I look for my coat is in the closet.

I worry about cancer. Not in a personal way, but in a general way.

It's only cheesy if you don't mean it.

One day I'll have an idea that will save me from the 9-to-5 drudgery that I'm currently living; today is not that day.

Sometimes I think that Bob Dylan is given too much credit, but then I immediately think I'm not giving him enough credit.

Memory can work for you and against you at the exact same time. Thinking about this makes my head hurt.

I am extremely picky about many things. The tissue I use is not one of those things.

I really like to dance around my room while listening to my music collection. Is there any way I can get paid for that?

Instigate silly.

My dad is a Senator. My uncle is an astronaut. That makes me both interesting and boring at the same time.

Every year I think that I should send out Christmas cards to people, but then I realize that only married people and old people do that.

Sometimes being the bigger person just doesn't give you the satisfaction you were looking for.

We need more songs like the Black Eyed Peas' "Let's Get Retarded."

Friday, August 19, 2005

Soreness

There is a soreness in my mind. It's not a headache. It's a dullness, a worn quality. It's from overuse. From neglect. It's from the things that are there and from the things that are not there. Mostly it's from the things that are almost there but not quite. The items on the cusp. The things that I am about to discover but I never quite do. The connections I've almost made. The puzzles I've almost solved. The bits of progress that I've made that have almost lead to something. The points where my intellect has failed me. I'm able to learn, to move forward. I think, I advance I gain knowledge, but I never finish. I've overlooked simplicity and it keeps me from progressing. The pain that I feel is my loss of ease. The weight of thought. The burden of logic. The misplacement of truth.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Why Terrell Owens is Good for the NFL

There are two sides to every story. Unfortunately, this T.O. saga has its upside.

The NFL is in pre-season mode. Starters are only on the field for the first quarter – if even that long. The rest is just training camp news and injury updates. The most compelling reason to watch a pre-season game is to see if one of the big name players gets hurt. Not exactly the most exciting time to be watching football. Plus, there are plenty of other good sporting events going on right now.

The Major Leagues are starting to close in on the pennant and wild-card races, Rafael Palmeiro has just come back from his steroid suspension, Phil Mickelson just won the PGA Championship and Tony Stewart is tearing up NASCAR. Yet, what is everyone talking (and writing) about? Terrell Owens.

Aside from the approximately four months when the NFL players aren’t suiting up at all, mini-camp and training camp has to be the least interesting time of the year. We can only hear so much about two-a-days and wind sprints and whose hammy is feeling a little sore. T.O. has changed that. He’s engineered a very public (see my previous post) and acrimonious hold out that has everyone watching. He has single-handedly taken the spotlight from every other sport and turned it upon him and therefore the NFL. People are looking for every little bit of T.O. info and then they end up sticking around for some of the other training camp reports. Don’t think this won’t carry over into the regular season. I’ll be willing to bet that the Eagles games (especially the opening Monday night game) will be some of the highest rated games of the season. Why? Everyone wants to see what he’ll do next. Will he scream at Andy Reid on the sidelines? Will he pull a poster of himself out of his pants and dance with it for his latest touchdown celebration? Will he finally talk McNabb in to punching him in the face?

No matter what you might hear from NFL management about how T.O. is a nuisance who is giving the game a bad name, there are managers in NFL headquarters saying, “Hey, our ratings our up. Let Pepsi know it’s going to be $20 million a minute for a Super Bowl ad this year. Twice that if Owens is playing.”

Paul Tagliabue (and the rest of the NFL management) has got it made right now. The fans are on his side. He can come out and say that Terrell Owens is a low-class doofus and the fans will cheer. Meanwhile, he gets to enjoy the benefits of the publicity the low-class doofus is bringing to the league. Pretty good gig if you can get it.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

There's A Better Way, T.O.

Everyone has his or her opinion on Terrell Owens, and that's exactly the way that he wants it. We can all talk about how he's a huge jerk and how we'll all be happy when he finally has to cave in and show up for the Eagles. The issue, which has been lost at this point, is that T.O. is unhappy with his current contract. He believes that he's outperformed his current contract and that Eagles should renegotiate the contract so that he can make even more money. He's currently making $7 million a year.

The Eagles are standing pat. They argue that Owens signed his seven year deal last year, and that he should live with it. They don't need to renegotiate because he's got a contract. They're right.

Unfortunately, this isn't really the issue. The issue is that Owens needs to be in the spotlight. He needs to be making waves, he needs to have reporters outside his house and he needs constant attention. He believes he is bigger than the game and because of that, he will always be a headache for the team and his teammates.

Last year everything was great and Owens and McNabb were rumored to be best buddies. The Eagles went to the Super Bowl and he even made a a bit of a heroic comeback for the Super Bowl from a nasty ankle injury. The Eagles came up a bit short and the offseason came along and people stopped talking about T.O. This bothered T.O. So he fired his agent, picked up super agent Drew Rosenhaus and demanded that the Eagles renegotiate.

Normally, I would have no issue with this - if it was handled correctly - but Owens went straight to the press and made it very clear that he was upset and would probably hold out of camp. A true professional would have handled this quietly between the team and his agent. Not Owens. He needs everyone to know. He decided to carry out this "negotiation" in the media. The Eagles wouldn't play ball. He thinks that he is big enough to force the Eagles to do whatever he wants. He's wrong.

Now, it's gotten to the point that I'm pretty sure he's completely forgotten that he's supposed to be upset about his contract. He's just eating up the attention. He showed up for camp and immediately came down with a groin injury. Then he got in an arguement with coach Andy Reid and got sent home for a week. The very next day, he was out in his driveway doing situps for the media and shooting hoops. Of course, he was firing off quotes left and right and loving the attention. All the while, he was happy as can be. If he really gave a damn about football or anything besides himself, he'd still be in camp and he would have been there in the first place.

What he doesn't realize - or care to realize - is that the best way for him to get a new contract is to keep his mouth shut and go out and help the Eagles win their first Super Bowl. Do your talking on the field by using your extraordinary skills to win football games. Then you'll get all the attention you could ever want. I know some Philly fans and anyone who is on a Super Bowl championship team for the Eagles will be a hero for life. Everyone will talk about you forever. Philly - as harsh as it can be - is one of the most savvy sports cities in America and they are starved for a championship. T.O., if you want people to pay attention PLAY SOME FOOTBALL.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Ben Folds and Some Other Suckbag

Last night I went to Ravinia to see Ben Folds. I believe that it was technically a double bill with Ben and Rufus Wainwright because there was an opening act before them, Ben Lee.

My girlfriend and I gathered up some picnic-type goods and headed to the venue. When we arrived, we ran into some of her friends who had lawn seats and we sat down and ate with them while listening to Ben Lee. He did a fun little set of some upbeat pop songs and cracked a few jokes about what a huge honor it was to be a contributor to the soundtrack for "Deuce Bigelow European Gigolo." I enjoyed him and I'll probably even try to track down some of his stuff on the Internet.

There was a brief break before Rufus Wainwright came on and my girlfriend and I made our way to our seats in the pavilion. I am not familiar with Rufus at all. I've heard one of his songs and felt pretty so-so about it. I was told by many people beforehand that he is "awesome" and "SO good". I was interested to see this guy that everyone was raving about. He came on and started playing and I was immediately bored. B-O-R-E-D bored. All of his songs sounded exactly the same as he whined over some slow moving guitar chords. Sure, it was a soulful whine, but it still sucked. By the third song, the only thing that was keeping me entertained was making fun of the contrast between his speaking voice (that of a flamingly gay man) and his heavy, whiny singing voice. Of course, the Rufus fans around me were ready to strike me dead on the spot. They did no such thing. His set finally ended with him announcing that his last song has become a bit of a "protest song" and the thought that immediately entered my head was, "Yeah, I'm protesting. Because you're still on stage."

Another break while they changed the equipment for Ben Folds. During this time, I tried to wake up from the nap that was Rufus Wainwright. Ben finally came on and opened with the first track from his new album, "Bastard." I knew that this show would probably be heavy on songs from "Songs for Silverman" but I didn't mind as I like the album quite a bit. He sprinkled in a few of his older songs ("One Angry Dwarf and 200 Solemn Faces", "Philosophy", "Zak and Sara", "Not the Same", "Still Fighting It", "Brick"). During "Philosophy" he actually broke some strings in his piano because he was pounding so hard. He opened the piano, pulled out the strings and beat them against his chest like Tarzan. He did very little talking and just played song after song after song. He never really gave us a "break." I thought he was about to slow it down for a bit when he started playing "Gracie" but after the standard opening, he kicked it into high-gear and turned it into a full-fledged rock n' roll song. He closed up with "One Angry Dwarf and 200 Solemn Faces" and left the crowd feeling energized and satisfied. I enjoyed it exactly as much as I expected to - which is to say a lot.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

If It Looks Like a Minivan...

I'm not stupid. Why do car companies think I'm stupid? Why do they insist on telling me that a minivan is not a minivan?

Every time I see a commercial for a minivan, it's always centered on how this vehicle is not really a minivan. Sure, it looks like a minivan but it's got this sleek new look. It's got these sweet flip-down video screens. Hey look, you can even fold down the seats and stow your kayak because we know you're an active mother. You know, you have all sorts of time for kayaking while your nanny is raising your child. Plus, we'd hate you to buy our car because you actually want to admit that you're a practical mother who has time for her children. No, no. We want to be part of your masquerade. We want to help you pretend that you don't actually have children and maybe even make people think that you're not married. You know, you're a MILF after all and what good is being a MILF if you can't shop yourself around and maybe get a little cock? You know what we're talking about. We're just going to come right out and say it: This miniva... rather, sport um... vehicle will get you laid. You work hard, mom. You should cum hard, too.

We're here to help. Buy our minivan.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

The Masterpiece

It's not considered an honor to be considered a one-hit wonder. Often times, these one-hit wonders are openly ridiculed. Mostly we think of musicians like Dexy's Midnight Runners, or Vanilla Ice. However, one-hit wonders can be authors, painters, actors or athletes as well. They can each have their moment of genius only to fade away.

Should we begrudge them this moment of genius? Each of these one-hit wonders gave us something that we loved or were inspired by. Is it any less worthwhile because the creator of that moment could only do it once? Should we place less significance on it because of the person who created it? I say no.

We've all experienced those moments where we were inspired by something great and were able to rise above our normal abilities and produces something better than we ever had before. Maybe this has happened multiple times, maybe it's only happened once. However in those moments we are truly achieving. It doesn't matter what came before or what comes after. That moment when we are inspired is pure and real and legitimate.

Sure, it's sad if that moment only happens once in my life, but it doesn't mean that the work I created in that moment is any less valuable.

Of course, this doesn't mean that we shouldn't keep making fun of Vanilla Ice for myriad other reasons.

Friday, July 29, 2005

You're Nothing Special

You are replaceable. It's a fact. It holds true for everyone. You can and will be replaced. You're not so special and unique that we can't find someone else to fill your place. There' s always someone smarter than you. There's always someone better than you. The best you can hope for is that your replacement doesn't come along before you are ready to leave, or that your superior doesn't realize that you can be replaced for a younger, smarter, cheaper model.

However, when you are replaced you then get to be someone else's replacement. Fortunately, there's always someone older, dumber and more expensive than you. So don't worry too much, because you'll find a place. If you don't, then there is a very good chance that you are the dumbest or the worst in your field.

If you don't believe me, just look around. What if you didn't show up for work for two weeks? What would happen? The economy certainly wouldn't fall apart. The world wouldn't stop spinning. Everyone would keep on living (or dying) and no one would be any the wiser. Sure, your boss might be a little annoyed, and your company would probably fire you but there would be no major catastrophe. In fact, your company would just hire someone else to do what you were doing and everything would chug right along like it had before. Except that you're probably a little more tan from your unannounced two week vacation.

This idea is the whole reason we have unions. The workers realized that there's always someone ready and willing to step in and replace them - often for less pay - so they got organized to keep this from happening. They're still replaceable but it's a lot harder to replace them.

You say, "But I'm me and there's no one else like me, so I can't be replaced entirely." Sure you can. It happens all the time. People die. What happens? They get replaced. Sure, people are sad for a while but they eventually get over it and move on. You wife will find a new husband. Your friends will find a new friend. Your co-workers will find a new co-worker. Or they won't - which is the saddest of all. Maybe they won't even try to replace you. You may think that is an indication that you are not replaceable, but I say it's just and indication that you were never needed in the first place.

Sorry, folks, you're just not that important.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Keeping It Old School

When the subject turns to music, one sure way to afford youself some immediate "cred" is by "keeping it old school." For example, people talk about hip-hop or rap and you mention that you own early Run DMC or De La Soul albums. Instant cred. You knew the good shit when it was happening. Before it became classic. It always works. After the conversation, people walk away thinking, "Yeah, that guy's cool. He knows what's up."

Does it always work that way?

If there is a group of teenage girls standing around talking about 'NSYNC and the Backstreet Boys and an older woman walks up, flashes a few of her Jordan Knight buttons and says, "Yeah, they're okay but it's nothing like back in the New Kids days." Do the teenage girls look up and say, "Damn, that lady knows her shit. She's totally old school"? My guess is no. The response is probably more like, "Uh, grandma? Stick to what you know, okay? We're going to go text message."

Why is this the case?

Well, the music sucked. The New Kids On the Block were terrible. They couldn't really sing, and the songs themselves were just them trying to sing over a bass drum beat. I just heard "Hangin' Tough" on the radio in my company's cafeteria and it was horrible. I can't believe that people were actually fooled into thinking this was good. Of course, I'm not sure that anyone thought it was actually good, they just thought the boys were cute. I say that because I don't know one guy who honestly liked them. Even if we did say we liked their songs, it was because a girl we had a crush on liked them. Otherwise, we hated their guts. Why? Because the girls we had crushes on all had crushes on one or all of the NKOTB. I digress.

The point here is that "keeping it old school" only gains you "cred" if the music actually holds up over time. I think we can all agree that this didn't happen with NKOTB. Deep down, every guy who grew up during the NKOTB era feels vindicated by that.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

The Forces of Evil and Me

I dated her for almost four years.  She was a wonderful girl.  She treated me very well and we had a good relationship.  We kept each other on our toes and made each other laugh.  I loved her.  I also wanted her dead.

Despite the fact that everything seemed so wonderful and nice in our relationship, it wasn’t working.  We were going through the motions.  We both knew it, but neither wanted to admit it.  I knew that I would have to take action if this was to end.  I didn’t want to be the bad guy.  I didn’t want to hurt her.  I didn’t want all of her friends to hate me for hurting her.   Hell, I didn’t want my friends (who loved her) to hate me for hurting her.  Instead of taking action — doing the right thing — and ending the relationship, I hoped she would die.  It would make everything easier.  I wouldn’t have to be the bad guy.  We could blame God for taking her away.  I could mourn the loss of my girlfriend, take some time to get over her and then start dating again.  Meanwhile, I’d get to keep all my friends and maintain “nice guy” status.  I might even gain a little status thanks to the sympathy vote.  Not to mention the fact that I could play the “love of my life passed away prematurely” card to garner sympathy from other women.  If she dies, I’m the big winner. Sure, people might be sad for a while, but they’ll get over it.  Everyone does.

I waited.  She didn’t die.  I took her white-water rafting.  She didn’t die.  I took her skydiving.  She didn’t die.  I undercooked her chicken.  She didn’t die.

I had to break up with her.   Now everyone thinks I’m the bad guy.

If they only knew.

****

Out of the Loop

In March, my friend JM celebrated his 30th birthday. We went to college together and both moved to Chicago upon graduation (he graduated a year before me). He had continued to live in Chicago until last year when he moved to Columbus to attend law school.

JM decided that he wanted to spend his 30th birthday with his friends who were still in Chicago, so he made the trip to the Windy City with his wife (who actually made all the arrangements) and all of his college friends were to attend. All of my former roommates were on the list (I lived with five other guys for most of my time there). However, because of my busy schedule and the busy schedules of my former roommates, we hadn't done the best job keeping in touch. I was busy with improv, BW was busy finishing his doctorate and spending time with his wife NW who is a medical intern at one of the U of C hospitals. BS was busy finishing law school and getting ready for his move to Milwaukee to work for a judge up there. PM and his wife were busy doing husband and wife things. Therefore, this little party was going to be a chance for us all to catch up on what has been happening.

I arrived a little late to the gathering, though I wasn't the last one in attendance. I looked around the room and saw BW, BS, RF and his wife, JM and his wife and a few other of JM's friends. Then I noticed NW standing near one of the tables and tought that something looked different about her. She turned sideways and I was able to put my finger on it. She was pregnant. My guess was about eight months pregnant. I was obviously surprised, but said nothing and greeted my friends as nothing was different. I stood talking to BW, BS, and RF for a while and when there was a lull in the conversation, I turned to BW and said:

"So, your wife's pregnant."
Jaws dropped around the circle and the look on BW's face was one of confusion and guilt, "You didn't know?"
"Nope."
"Oh, God. I'm sorry. I thought we told you. You know, you just get to a point where you feel like you've told everyone and then you just assume everyone knows," he said.
"Yeah, I know. That's how it was with my first kid."
This generated some chuckles and BW asked, "Just to be safe, you're kidding, right?"

I confirmed that I was, in fact, kidding and the conversation moved on.

We talked for a while about various shit - mostly music - and began to wonder when dinner would start. Just as people were beginning to move toward their seats, PM and his wife walked in. I noticed immediately that PM's wife was also very, very pregnant. I turned and looked at BS and he asked, "Didn't know about this one, either?"
"Nope."
Laughter erupted. I looked over my other friends standing there and said, "Anyone else have any announcements they should make?"

We then sat down to dinner and had a good laugh about how I had been left out of the baby loop. I ordered a beer and began feeling very out of place sitting at the grown-ups table.

Friday, July 22, 2005

The Invasion

For the past two weeks, my apartment has been invaded by guests. Last week it was my roommate's friend from college who came to Chicago for a week to hang out in his old stomping grounds. Normally, he's working on a cruise ship playing saxophone for the guests on board. This week my roommate's sister is occupying the couch.

Don't get me wrong, I enjoy both people who have invaded my home for a week, but I would have appreciated some sort of notice before it happened. With my roommate's friend, L, I found out he was coming when my roommate, J, took a phone call and then announced that L's plane would be landing in about two hours. With his sister, M, I found out she was staying with us when she showed up with him at a rehearsal on Sunday night. Thanks for the advance warning.

The discovery went somthing like this:

J and M walk in.
T says, "Oh, your sister was here this weekend?"
J, "Nope. She's staying with us for the week."
Me and T in tandem, "She is?"
J, "Yep."
Me and T in tandem, "Oh."
T then turns to me and says, "Did you know about this?"
I responded, "Nope. Good times."

I understand that the apartment is as much his as it is mine, but I certainly don't think it unreasonable to ask for a little warning before we have a house guest crashing on our couch for the week. If I were to take the same policy, we could have very easily had two unannounced guests show up for the same week and only one couch. That would be a real tragedy - especially because we have hardwood floors.

I've decided to combat this by staying at my apartment as little as possible. I've been spending almost every night at my girlfriend's place. Mostly because she has couches that can be used for sitting on and reading, or watching TV, or making out. My couch is being lived on. Doesn't leave a whole lot of space for sitting, reading, watching TV or making out. Luckily, the week is ending which means that the occupation will be over soon.

Unless he's got someone else lined up for next week.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

An Audience of None

I'm writing this for an audience of none. Maybe someone will stumble upon this while trying to avoid doing the work they are being paid for and start reading. Maybe not. Is generating an audience my goal? Not really. The idea is for me to get into the habit of writing, and if I happen to amuse or interest a few people at the same time, that's great. However, as of this very moment, it's an audience of none. A fresh slate. An untainted world.

Get ready for my taint.