Thursday, December 28, 2006

Predictions for 2007

Here are some thoughts looking forward into 2007.

- Jenn and I will complete the entry way to our house some time in the spring.
- We will have closet doors on all of the closets but none of them will be stained by the end of the year.
- Our bathrooms will still be ugly.
- We will have most of our pictures hung by February but Jenn will hate the way it looks and comment as much frequently.
- My brother will get furniture for his new house but not before Trina's first birthday party.
- Greta will finally be house trained early in 2007 but Elwood will still submissive pee on occasion and will bark at Blair no matter how many times he comes for a visit.
- Elwood and Greta will spend their first whole day without play fighting some time around July.
- Jenn and I take 3 separate trips to Disney World. One will be a day trip after which Jenn will declare that she never wants to do one of those again.
- I bowl a 250 game.
- The University of Pittsburgh basketball team will reach the Sweet 16 but bow out to a team with far less talent.
- The Pittsburgh Steelers will have another disappointing season. This time, it will be clearly the fault of their new head coach: Russ Grimm.
- The University of Miami rebounds by winning the ACC but gets shut out of the National Championship game due to low early season ranking and a late season loss.
- Pitt will taunt it's fans with excellent play all year after losing very early in the season only to crush our hopes again by losing their final 2 games.
- My fantasy football team will finish 3rd in the league and will lose in the Championship game.
- Grissom will leave CSI. The show will find a way to be good without him.
- Jack will save the day in 24. It will be his last season of carrying the show from start to finish.
- A Lindsay Lohan sex tape will be released.
- At least one famous socialite will die of an eating disorder.
- TomKat break up and the Kat part of the duo comes out with a scathing interview about Scientology.
- Bush's approval rating dips to 25% in some polls.
- Congress accomplishes nothing in way of oversight thanks to stall tactics of the Administration. At least one Administration official is indicted for failing to follow a court order.
- Another Administration official resigns and publicly lambastes the administration, and in particular the Village Idiot, for being inept and failing to listen to advice or recognizing the fact that it is headed down the wrong path in Iraq.
- Hillary Clinton and John McCain will end the year as the favorites for their parties' Presidential Nominations, but neither will actually win it. In both cases, it will be someone nobody is talking about right now. Hillary and Bill Clinton get a divorce in 2009.
- All of my friends will have a wonderful 2007!!!

Monday, December 18, 2006

How not to pick your Secretary of Defense

The departure of Rumsfeld as the Secretary of Defense was a big huge love fest last week. The only think missing was Bush getting down on his knees and servicing the guy. But what was said about the man and the job he did by Cheney and the Village Idiot speaks volumes about why Rummy was probably a really crappy choice for the job in the first place. I'm not talking about the whole "hind sight is 20/20" thing here. I'm talking about Red flags as to why he was likely chosen in the first place that should have told people, "This guy will likely lead us in the most costly, senseless war in the history of the United States."

First and most obvious we have Cheney's comments describing Rummy as "his best boss, best friend, an 'ideal' public servant and 'the finest secretary of defense this nation has ever had.'" OK, stop laughing. I know, that last bit is so warped that you have to laugh to stop from crying. We all know that Bush has surrounded himself with close friends and political supporters regardless of back ground and experience (think Brownie as FEMA head). But it's one thing to hire some guy you have known for a while and trust to do a good job to paint your house. It's another thing to hire a former boss and "best friend" to be your Defense Secretary. I love my friends Blair and Eddie but the most they would get if I were President are speech writer and gambling advisor, respectively.

The Village Idiot's comments were far more subtle in their foreboding and far more obvious in their idiocy. I know, it's pretty tough to top calling this guy 'the finest secretary of defense this nation has ever had.' Here is what VI had to say: "Don Rumsfeld has been at my side from the moment I took office. We've been through war together. We walked amid the rubble of the broken Pentagon the day after September the 11th, 2001. He was with me when we planned the liberation of Afghanistan. We were in the Oval Office together the day I gave the order to remove Saddam Hussein from power. In these and countless other moments, I have seen Don Rumsfeld's character and his integrity. He has always ensured I had the best possible advice. . . . He spoke straight. It was easy to understand him." I know what your expression is right now. You're sitting there staring at the screen after having reread that last line about 5 times with your mouth open in shock shaking your head. This one isn't a laugh or you'll cry. You literally don't know if you should scream in disbelief, laugh hysterically or just stare at the screen. The third is the easiest.

Firstly, they haven't "been through a war together." That would suggest that they actually accomplished something and that the war of their own creation isn't still on-going. The appropriate statement is, "We've started a war together." You could probably make a case for, "We've occasionally discussed a war together," as the closest thing to the truth and the actual statement.

Next, do you think Bush can get through a speech without reminding everyone that he was President during 9/11? And at what point is the general public going to put 2 and 2 together and realize that HIS incompetencies partially allowed 9/11 and he has done nothing to bring the perpetrators to justice? I know every time I hear him reference it, I fume for these very reasons.

Next next, If Afghanistan is so liberated, why do we still have soldiers there? And why is the Taliban continuing to re-emerge and make significant headway in parts of the country? You could make this statement if you actually saw the mission through rather than starting a 2nd and completely unjustifiable war. The statement should read, "He was with me when I cut and run out of Afghanistan without seeing the job through and without bringing our attackers to justice." Plus, my version lets him bring up 9/11 again.

That next sentence is not something he should really be hanging his hat on. It only makes the sheep in the country wonder why Rummy is the one getting the boot if this whole Iraq thing was entirely the Village Idiot's decision. Maybe he should have had someone with half a brain or some level of understanding of the Middle East with him when he gave that order to invade Iraq. Unjustly.

The last bit is the doozy: "He spoke straight. It was easy to understand him." That's it? That's the qualifications you were looking for when it came time to pick your Secretary of Defense? I'd love to the the Monster job description on that one. Too bad Fred Rogers wasn't available, he would have been the perfect candidate. The Village Idiot is basically admitting that he has a hard time understanding complex ideas. I can just hear him now, "I like that Simpsons show. That Homer fella is really funny. I always understand what he's saying. That Lisa though, I don't like her. She uses big words. When I try to listen to her, my head hurts." I would like to officially throw my hat in the ring for Secretary of Defense with the following statement. I will now demonstrate my ability to speak straight and be easily understood:

"Mr. President. You are the worst President ever. You have ruined the office of the President worse than Scrappy Doo ruined Scooby Doo. People around the world hate America because of you. The Iraq war is a worse idea than New Coke and it is sure to have a similar ending: pulling the plug and everyone being mad that we had to go through this terrible part of history with no real reason why it had to happen. You suck."

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Football vent

It was decided around October that this football season never happened. It's been and absolutely BRUTAL year in every regard. Seriously, nothing has made sense to me and nothing has gone right. Actually, very little in this season has made sense to ANYONE this year.

We'll start with the big: the anomalies that are just terrorizing fans everywhere. It has never been this difficult to pick winners. Usually, if you pick the favorites, you're going to get 12 of the 16 games right on the weekend. If you get lucky and pick the right upsets, you win the office pool. This year, forget it. Of the weeks I've been paying attention to such things, there have been 2 where the Underdogs have won more games than the favorites including last week where the dogs won - outright - 10 of the 16 games on the schedule. THAT'S SICK!!! You remember the scene in Back to the Future 2 where Marty buys the sports almanac in the future and intends on using it to get rich in the present? Well, all he'd have to do is wait for a weekend like this past one, and he'd clear over $50,000 EASY by risking less than $5,000 on very reasonable bets. No red flags there. Just a guy getting lucky on deciding that this was the weekend he was going to throw a bunch of money on the underdogs. Parlay the money lines on all the dogs on the board and you're done. Easy money.

The stupid thing about all of these dogs winning is that there's only one team currently leading their division where, at the start of the season, every expert in football would have called you insane for picking them: New Orleans. That's it. The only other team leading their division that was a loser last year is Baltimore, but they were everyone's dark horse darling in the AFC because they improved an already good defense and got a good QB with something to prove. And really, the only 2 teams that a majority of people felt would contend this year that are stinking up the joint are the Steelers and Dolphins. Of course, those are my 2 favorite teams, but more on that later. So, with few surprises at the very top, that means when 2 garbage teams are playing, just bet the dog. Odds are pretty good you're going to win. In fact, if a decent team is a big favorite over a garbage team, it probably makes sense to bet the dog there, too. The only 2 teams that you have to stay away from in all scenarios this year are Tampa and Detroit. Otherwise, any team is a good bet.

Now, a review of my REAL football teams: they both stink. The Steelers are finally coming around, but they could have very easily been 11-2 right now. In fact, given their level of play during 90% of every game, it would hard to believe that they'd be anything worse than 9-4. That is, if you covered up all statistics related to turnovers. Once you see that, well, it becomes easy to see this team sitting at 6-7. The only 2 games the Steelers offense did not out-perform their opponent were Jacksonville and Baltimore. They were man handled in both of those games. Under no circumstances were they going to win those 2. But in every other game, you take out one of their multiple TO's, and the Steelers' likely win. You take out TWO of them (leaving them with still more than 1 in each and every case), and they definitely win. It wouldn't even be close. They've killed themselves all year by stupidity. I'm not sure if I should be hopeful in thinking that stupidity passes and they'll be better next year or mad that they blew a good chance to put forth a solid title defense. At the very least, I am definitely looking forward to their cake schedule next year. They'll probably only have one prime-time scheduled game, but whatever.

As for the Dolphins, well, they were just plain bad. Their offense was terrible. The defense was beatable. They've come on of late, but way too little way way too late. There's no way any one should look at the end of this season and say it bodes well for next season. That rationale was what caused people to be excited in the first place.

And lastly, the part that everyone will skip, my Fantasy teams. They were all worse than my real life teams. I had my worst season EVER. I had a monumentally bad season. I can't even begin to describe my disappointment. Fantasy Football is something I look forward to each and every year. This year, my hopes and dreams were summarily crushed. Last year, I was in 5 leagues and made the playoffs in 4 of them. The year before, I was in 6 and made it through to 3 playoffs (winning 1). This year? 0-5! YIKES!!! Very depressing. The Fantasy Football subplot is what really ruined this season for me. It was an on-going issue from the start of the season on and it never let up. The only thing that kept me even remotely interested in this year was the chance to go over to Eddie's and watch games with him. Who knows what I would have done if it were another season of watching the games solo. It's safe to assume that Jenn would have had very little problem getting me to go out somewhere on the weekends.

So, the season is coming to a merciful close. I have no idea what to expect from next year. Am I going to be as excited for the start of the season as I usually am? Probably. But I will definitely be a little bit more on the defensive. I'll certainly have my guard up. And I'm DEFINITELY going to do a lot more homework for the Fantasy Football.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006


Having a dog is a lot of work. Having 2 dogs is REALLY a lot of work. When one of those dogs decides, after nearly 2 weeks of perfect behavior, to start peeing where ever she wants whenever she wants with very little warning, well, let's just say those aren't your favorite moments.

I've never had a dog before, so when we adopted our first dog, Elwood, I knew I was in for a brand new experience. We set ourselves up for a very interesting experience by picking the most skittish dog at the pound. When we was in his cage, he wouldn't go anywhere near the front, remaining in the way back, as far out of sight as possible. It took him a couple weeks before Jenn and I were allowed to be in the same room together without upsetting him. And while he's a very different dog now than he was when we adopted him, he's still extremely wary of strangers and isn't afraid to let you know it. Visitors are greeted with non stop barking from a dog that won't go anywhere near them. And anyone that approaches to pet him while we're out on our walks will only end up petting our legs because Elwood will be hiding behind us like a 2 year old at a family reunion. But for all his issues, he's actually a very smart dog. He picks up rather quickly on the commands covered in the obedience class we attend. Any limitations in learning are a direct result of my lack of time to train him. He is super loving, too. If allowed, he would lick Jenn or I all night. His preferred spot to rest is wherever he can find a lap.

Then we got Greta. She was my pick as Jenn was the one that chose Elwood. I picked her based on the fact that, when she came into the viewing room, she was the only dog that came directly to us rather than sniffing around the room for something else and likely more interesting. As Jenn says, she is the most loving female dog she has ever seen. For the first week, she wouldn't tug on the leash the slightest bit. She would reserve all bodily functions (except for burps, which she does frequently) for outside. She also had to be sequestered from Elwood. That was fun. When we brought Elwood to the pound for the doggie meet and greet to make sure they would get along, the wrestled with each other for 10 minutes straight. No break. Just a ball of fur rolling around on the floor. They attempted to recreate the scene every time they would see each other in passing. And then she had her stitches removed and they were allowed to meet. And for 2 days straight, there was nothing but more rough housing. I swear it would have never stopped if we ourselves hadn't had enough and put an end to it. Thankfully, they've calmed down a bit now and have cut the play fighting to about 50 minutes of every hour. If we can have it down to 40 by Christmas, it will indeed be a Christmas miracle. Coincidently or not, the doggie introduction coincided with Greta starting to covertly tinkle inside whenever she had the opportunity. The opportunity would be, specifically, whenever no one was looking. It started when we noticed our kitchen mat was wet but neither of us had done any dishes. Then the mat by the door was wet and it wasn't raining. Then the bedroom carpet was wet when she had been kept separate for a little while. It's only been a month, but this has definitely been a struggle. It was over a week before we actually caught her doing it to where we could yell no at her and run her outside. We now have to take her out every couple hours "just in case". And even that isn't frequent enough as just yesterday she went on the floor - privately - after having been walked 20 minutes before. Other than that, she really is a wonderful dog. She likes giving affectionate head-butts. She LOVES everyone, no matter who. Just about everyone loves her, too. If she could talk, she'd probably ask for a pet squirrel for Christmas. Most importantly, her and Elwood are huge friends.

Oddly enough, that last bit is part of the problem with having 2 dogs. First of all, they're usually way more interested in each other than anything you're doing anymore. Elwood isn't quite as interested in lap time any more. And when you need to get one of them to do something, good luck. The other would much rather continue the Fight for Doggie Dominance. I'm hoping that this is a temporary phase. I mean how long can dogs bite each other's ears and legs before it just gets boring and it's time to move on to paying attention tot eh humans again? It is entertaining for a while, but eventually, you don't want to hear the pitter patter of little paws any more. The aftermath isn't all that fun, or snuggly, either: 2 slobbery dogs.

Clearly, there are things that need some getting used to. Seeing Jenn lose her cool with them makes me feel less like an ogre when I'm about ready to lock them both up in a cage forever. Overall, though, the dog owning experience is an extremely positive one. I still have a lot to learn as do they. I'm definitely looking forward to the day when the greet each other with a couple licks and sniffs and that's the extent of it. Even more so, I am anxious for the day when we can leave Greta alone in a room and her not leave any puddles behind. I understand way dog owners are so passionate about their pets. These are animals that have a lot of love to give. And it's extremely rewarding when they do give it.