Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Dumbledore Says Boston in Six

Is it just me or has nothing interesting been going on all week?

Dumbledore is gay? Zounds, people, it was sooo obvious! Why is this even news? How can a fictional character be anything if it's not even hinted at in the novels? And frequent use of the word "wand" doesn't count. If you want my take, and I know you do because you're here, this is some crafty prestidigitation by author J.K. Rowling. It's like George Lucas saying Luke Skywalker was colorblind. If a character is anything, and that anything is relevant at all, shouldn't it be brought out on the fictional pages he lives on? Otherwise, what's going on here?

Speaking of which, let's talk about the Red Sox vs the Rockies in the World Series. Why did the Indians have to blow their season to Boston? The last thing we need is another reason for New England to celebrate (it's a foregone conclusion that the Patriots are going 19 - 0). So, let's go Rockies, huh? Do what the Cardinals did last year and pull a rabbit out of your hat and sign David Eckstein while you're at it. Game one is tonight. Boston, the favorite, has home field advantage thanks to Tony LaRussa's managing gaff in this year's All Star Game.

From the BBC's World Series preview / 2007 season review.

The 2007 All-Star game saw the American League's seeming dominance extend to a 10th consecutive victory as they won 5-4. However, with the NL trailing by one run and the bases loaded, St Louis manager Tony La Russa's decision not to pinch-hit with Cardinals star batter Albert Pujols (his last remaining bench player) seems as mystifying now as it was then.

And, in the words of the great Dumbledore: Boston will have this shit sewn up in six games.

Bah! I banish thee back into the closet whence you came!

In happier news, now that Mark Cuban is finished on "Dancing with the Stars" he can get down to buying the Chicago Cubs. Next year is here five months away.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Area man comes up with another great band name

Belleville, Ill - Henry Keller is a 42 year old auto mechanic, divorced father of two, and avid classic rock fan. But his friends are amazed at his uncanny ability to come up with great band names.

"I can't really explain it," says Keller, fresh from working on a 1976 Chevrolet Impala. "I'll be talking to my friends or what ever and I'll say something and then realize, hey, that would be a great band name."

His friends almost always agree.

"He's really good at it, no doubt about it," says Martin Brown, a life long friend of Keller's. "He's been doing it since high school, really. He just came up with another one last night, 'Hokey Spoke.'"

Keller has been responsible for lending his talents to various local groups such as Wither, Soggy Jog, and Slow Jam Grapevine.

"I guess I'm sort of a local celebrity now," Keller laughs. "People come to me for band names. I have a whole notebook full of them and I just start tossing them out and when they hear one that fits their style they go with it. All I ask is that they send me a flier so I can add it to my scrapbook."

Keller has left his mark all over the local band scene, and as far away as Chicago.

"You know that band Dead Science Project? They were a big deal in the tri-state area. That was me too," he adds.

With all his exposure to music and bands Keller admits that he is only an amateur musician.

"Oh, I was in a band after high school," he explains. "We batted around a few names and finally settled on the Henry Keller Experience. We were sort of a mix of Moody Blues, The Alan Parsons Project , and Flock of Seagulls. Oh, and by the way, those are all great band names. I've got a tape around here somewhere."

"I don't really know how it happens," says Keller, trying to explain his methodology. "I know a lot of people think it's cool to mix two words that shouldn't go together. I call it Led Zepplining. Well, that's not really my style. I try to just let it happen naturally. I've learned you can't force the creative process."

Keller also boats an impressive collection of classic rock albums in their original vinyl, and he reads voraciously. He suspects all of that information becomes a jumbled mess in his head which overflows as a random band name.

"I joke with everyone that my head is sort of like a rock polisher," Keller says. "You know, junk goes in, tumbles around, and out comes something nice. The fun part is I never know when it's going to happen next; watching football, in the shower, or working on a car. If that's my gift then I guess I could have been stuck with worse."

Monday, October 15, 2007

First boomer applies for Social Security

WASHINGTON - The nation's first baby boomer applied for Social Security benefits Monday, causing administrators of the trust fund to scream, "Oh my God! Run for your lives!!"

Kathleen Casey-Kirschling, a former teacher from New Jersey, applied for benefits over the Internet at an event attended by Social Security Commissioner Michael Astrue, while hundreds of concerned citizens watched on horrified. Casey-Kirschling, who now lives in Maryland, was born one second after midnight on Jan. 1, 1946, making her the first baby boomer.

"This is just the beginning...of the end," Said Martin Slesinger, 42, of Passaic, New Jersey. "Or is it the end of the beginning? Who the hell cares? We're doomed!"

An estimated 10,000 people a day will become eligible for Social Security benefits over the next two decades. The Bush administration has taken the necessary precautions, raising the terror alert level to a soothing doily white.

"The most important thing to remember is that the government has plenty of money to cover all baby boomers, and those coming after," said President Bush. "If we run out of money we'll just print some more."

The Social Security trust fund, if left alone, is projected to go broke in 2041. A few hope Congress will address the issue, perhaps after the 2008 presidential election. Many more plan on looting, lying, and cheating their way to a comfortable retirement.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Area dog loves tennis ball

Eagan, MN - After running around his owner's back yard for over an hour, local dog Albie, a seven month old Golden Retriever declared, yet again, "I really love chasing this tennis ball!" With his tail wagging furiously he then darted off to the corner for another retrieve.

"It's like, I don't know, man. I can't help myself," the dark red puppy explained. "I think I don't want to do it anymore and then I see that ball sailing through the air and this force compels me after it. It's the greatest feeling in the world."

When Albie's owner isn't tossing the ball around the yard the energetic pup likes to pick the ball up and set it down in his owner's lap.

"I think he forgets how much I love to do this," Albie explained. "I mean sure, every once in a while my owner needs to eat or go to the can, but there are times when I'm sure he wants to toss the ball with me but just forgets, so I just drop the ball into his lap. If that doesn't work I bark."

"Yeah, I can be a little manic," the dog continued. "I fixate on things. I bark. I don't mean no harm. I just love to play ball. I mean I...hey...wait? Do you have a ball? Is there a tennis ball in your pocket? I'll just jump up on you and check with my pawns. I'll bet you have one in there somewhere. Are you holding out on me? What's your problem, man? I'm going to nip at your fingers because I...oh, no, I'm so sorry, I didn't mean to do that. I don't know what came over me. I'll be good. I'm sorry, man. I'm cool. I'm cool, man! Aww geez, now my owner is tossing me into the kennel. But just tell me, did you have a tennis ball?"


I also dabble in the macabre!

A friend from high school wrote me
To bridge the years he did not have much to say
Recalled in a modest tone as if I would be unimpressed
A house, a wife, two sons

But I was not unimpressed
And I traded my own story
The very unconventional biography
Those disparate events and dates juxtaposed next to each other

Summoned out of the past
Lined up in rows
They looked around at their strange bedfellows
Ready to return to their historic sleep

To read it perhaps you would allow me a little self indulgence?
Or, perhaps, some respite?
Fastened to the prow of a ship of unfathomable nouns
Leaves little room for self adulation

Write your own biography
And it may explain some things
For me, I no longer question when I feel tired
Or why I sleep as I have not in years

Outside the sky is an unmerciful gray
And the trees give up their children to the earth
Where they, to the last, will rest until an appointed time
While I gather up my own and put them back in place

She is endless, and back to the earth I go again
Into a formidable and fortuitous sleep
And from its depths I wrestle with my dreams
A house, a wife, two sons

'24' actor Kiefer Sutherland gets 48 days in jail

Kiefer: Goddamn this is good whiskey. I love sitting here by my pool in beautiful Southern California, enjoying a cold glass of Jim Beam. It really takes the edge off when I'm not trying to save the world from terrorists, or some other major fiasco, in a predetermined amount of time. God, that's just so much pressure.

(Phone rings.)

Kiefer answers: Yes, Mr. President?

Lawyer: Kiefer, this isn't the president. It's your lawyer.

Kiefer: Oh, right, right. I was just fucking with you. What do you need? Is something catastrophic about to occur? Am I needed in some extraordinary fashion?

Lawyer: Well, not exactly. Listen, Kiefer, I have some bad news...

Kiefer: Someone is planning to bomb CTC? Is the nation in trouble? Arabs?

Lawyer: This is serious,

Kiefer: Fox let my contract expire? Well tell them to kiss my ass, OK? Do you know where I am? I'm sitting here by my pool, with a bottle of Jim Beam. There's a beautiful broad sunning herself against my left thigh. I just ate spare ribs off the small of her back. See what I'm saying?

Lawyer: Yes, well, be that as it may...

Kiefer takes a slow sip)

Kiefer: Ahhh hell yes. Hey, honey, switch thighs will ya? Goddamn that's good shit.

Yes, I'm sure it is. Listen, Kiefer that's what I want to talk to you about.

Kiefer: That's some gooooood shit. Yeow!

Lawyer: remember your recent DUI conviction? Well that was your second one. It violated your probation and you're going to spend 48 days in jail.

Kiefer: Yeah, sure. Put me in prison. I like that. The scene begins with Jack Bauer in dark, cold prison cell. The warden comes in with Jack's lunch on a metal tray. In a flash, Jack grabs the tray and smashes it into the man's trachea, grabs the keys, and disguises himself as the warden. Tell Fox I'm down.

Lawyer: Kiefer, I'm not talking about your television show. For real, you're going to spend time in prison. And if you try to break out it will make matters much worse.

The fuck you talking about? Jail? I'm a hero.

Lawyer: Do you remember pleading no contest?

Kiefer: I thought the charge was just for, you know, due diligence and all that shit. I'm a hero and I'm being charged with a crime? I'm-that's what's happening? This is funny, you know that, this is--get up, honey, daddy needs to yell into the phone.

Lawyer: Kiefer, it's only 48 days..

Kiefer: I'm Jack Bauer. I off terrorists. I defend the nation. I break *out* of prisons. Motherfucker, what am I paying you for? To get me thrown *in* jail? Don't you know my name by now?

Kiefer, this is for real.

Kiefer: I'm for real, you little shit. Did you see what I did last season? After being tortured in a Chinese prison for 20 months I stopped terrorists from detonating suitcase nuclear devices on American soil! I averted a war between the US and Russia, while being serviced by women in my trailer between shots. I ain't got time to bleed.

Lawyer: The time has to be served by next July. My advice is...

Kiefer: I shook up the world. You hear me? I'm an American hero. This is an elaborate plot by liberals, or nationalists, or who-ever-the fucks. I'm now on trial, not for my love of Jim Beam, but my pursuit of justice and security. Much like the upcoming season of my hit series '24.'

Lawyer: I'm very sorry. I assure you I did all I could.

Kiefer: You fuckin' people. You have no idea how to defend a nation. All you did was weaken a country today. That's all you did. You put people in danger. You want me on that wall. You need me on that wall. Jack Bauer isn't going to any prison. Not after what the Chinese did to me. Over my dead body, and I'll see you in hell. I'm not going back into that hole.

(Hangs up the phone. Finishes off his whiskey. Loads his revolver.).

Kiefer: Honey, get in the bunker. It's time. Season 8 of '24.'

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Sting. Worst. Lyricist. Ever?

Huh. Monosyllabic front man Sting was named worst lyricist ever by Blender magazine, beating out Neil Pert, Scott Stapp, Noel Gallagher and...Dan Fogelberg! Wow.

According to the Reuter's article, "Blender assailed Sting for such alleged sins as name-dropping Russian novelist Vladimir Nabokov in the Police tune "Don't Stand So Close to Me," quoting a Volvo bumper sticker ("If You Love Someone Set Them Free"), and co-opting the works of Chaucer, St. Augustine and Shakespeare."

And here I was wearing my Police shirt out last Saturday night. Once again, I've been had. Well, I'll sing us out...

You consider me the young apprentice
Caught between the Scylla and Charybdis
Hypnotized by you if I should linger
Staring at the ring around your finger

I have only come here seeking knowledge

Things they wouldn't teach me of in college
I can see the destiny you sold
Turned into a shining band of gold

Ill be wrapped around your finger
Ill be wrapped around your finger

Monday, October 08, 2007

The beard has been cut down (Cubs lose!)

Goddammit, Cubs, my beard lasted a paltry four days. FOUR DAYS! It barely evolved past stubble as you melted down and shuffled out of the playoffs, sodomized by the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Diamondbacks! The D-Backs! The Baby 'Backs! The team that was formed in 1998 and three years later won a World Series. You Cubs, meanwhile, are now looking at 100 years without a title. No pressure.

Misery loves company.

In other news though the Bears pulled out a victory over the Packers Sunday night. I've got that going for me.

Back to politics I guess. Oy!

Monday, October 01, 2007

Family, Facial Hair, and the Chicago Cubs

Taking a refreshing turn away from politics, I received an e-mail this morning from a relative which read, "I’m doubly happy, the Cubs clinched their division and the Mets went down to defeat. Ha ha, payback is hell. That’s for what they did to us in ’69. That’s how far back my disappointment goes." (Thanks, mom, for writing in.)

This aptly summarizes the sports heritage I grew up with, which was, namely, to root for the Cubs and know their history, and hate the Mets for what they did to us in 1969. Yesterday both things came around full-circle. The "unsinkable" Mets finished their floundering, broke in-two, and sank to the bottom of the Atlantic, handing the division title over to Philadelphia. The Cubs ended on top of the National League Central. A chapter of family angst has been closed.

The Cubs and their lore is but one leg upon which my childhood was carefully erected. The other two are Ronald Reagan and cable television. This might explain a few things. I have successfully renounced two but shaking baseball has proven less simple. The oddity is compounded by the obvious fact that the Cubs are the cruel mistress which has mistreated me the most. And yet I continue to enter into her temple. I play the role of the hapless man who keeps returning to the woman who lifts him up and breaks him when he leasts suspects it (Game 5, 2003 NLCS). Why do we keep coming back for more punishment? Because we believe that all the pain we have endured will make the victory that much sweeter when she comes around. And if she doesn't, well, maybe as Cubs fans we just can't change.

It has been 99 years since the Cubs have claimed a World's Championship, and so their clinching the National League Central division, and thus making the playoffs, is the first step towards redemption, right? Which is sort of like the rush you get when your ex accidentally drunk dials you in the middle of the night. (Ohh, she was thinking about me!) Hell, we are nothing if not hopeful beings, but I'll let my left brain have the rest of the paragraph. How do I like their chances? Well, on paper it doesn't look good. Their 85 wins are the fewest of any team to reach post-season play this year. But the Cardinals held the same dubious honor last year and went on to beat the Detroit Tigers in the World Series. Cubs fans believe their team is this year's Cardinals but I wont go that far because, one, these are the Cubs and their history is my catechism. And two, what makes teams like the 2006 Cardinals so special is that they are atypical.

Still, I will be doing my part to will the Cubs to victory. Borrowing from hockey tradition (after all, I am dislocated in Minnesota) I will not shave until the Cubs have won the whole damn thing or have been raucously booted from the post-season play. May my beard grow long and bushy. Amen. I also prepared to don Chicago paraphernalia and heat up a Chicago-style pizzas from the store, consuming them at my vigil. I am prepared to do these things to appease the mistress. Yes, here she comes now. And, if they make the World Series, I can drive to Wrigley and pray at the left-field wall on Waveland Avenue. And maybe fool the mistress into loving me with a World Series title. When patience fails, a little trickery cannot hurt.

And if they lose? I'll be the unkempt fat man with the Chicago shirt on. If they lose, life goes on. But who lives their lives on "if they lose?" anyway? Life is but a perpetual giving of your heart hoping one day it will return to you truer than when it left. No guts, no glory, or something.... Either way, I am prepared for a gut wrenching week or two, and I hope the Fates smile on me, or at least overlook me. One false move and it will be my heart tore out and tossed into the disposal. It would not be the first time.

Update: From, last night "the NL wild card came down to a wild, 13-inning finish Monday night that put Matt Holliday and the Colorado Rockies into the playoffs and sent Trevor Hoffman and the San Diego Padres home weary and dazed." Another choke by a team which looms large in the Cubs' legend (1984 NLCS), perhaps Cubs fans are calling in all their favors.

Don't ever go against the family.