Monthly Archives: February 2010

101 Random Thoughts

1.  Wow, 101.  That’s a lot.

2.  Is it just me, or does anyone else get a little nervous when they notice a Toyota behind them on the highway?

3.  Baseball Season is just around the corner.  Opening Day is April 5th.

4.  Was it really necessary to make yet another adaptation of Alice In Wonderland?  Just listen to the Jefferson Airplane song.  You get the whole thing summed up in less than three minutes.

5.  First it’s a candy, then it’s a gum.  But wait, didn’t that just make it a gum in the first place.  Hey, all these years later and suddenly I’m feeling a little ripped off by the Razzles people.

6.  If I ever get the urge to do some cleaning around the house, I just watch that show Hoarders, then I think, “At least my place is not that bad.”

7.  The last time I saw a movie in a theater, it was No Country for Old Men, and Maureen hated it so much she reminds me of it any time we talk about going to a movie.  This would be one of the reasons why we have not been back to the theater in so long.  That and the fact that the two of us go toes up by 9 each night.

8.  I can’t remember the last time I hear the song Undercover Angel by Alan O’Day, but for some reason I can still remember the all lyrics.

9.  Somewhere in the world, there has to be a giant stack of black Chuckles, because no one I know has ever eaten one.  Well, maybe my father.

10.  I would have no problem accepting a bronze metal because someone else made a dumb mistake and got disqualified.  But I would probably stop short of wearing it around my waist and having people kiss it. 

11.  For someone who works with the public on a day-to-day basis, it is amazing how much I dislike people.

12.  Is there anyone outside the city of Chicago who has any idea who Aliotta, Haynes and Jeremiah are?  And even in the city, only those who are over 40 probably have any idea who they are.

13.  Note to self:  Don’t make obscure music references in your blog.  Only David Peryam ever seems to catch them.

14.  It has been brought to my attention that Maureen took me to an awful lot of wedding before I finally got the hint, but that I only seem to bring her to funerals.  I sure hope she doesn’t think I’m dropping some sort of hint too.

15.  “If you want to destroy my sweater, pull this thread as I walk away”

16.  Scientifically, the human body is more than 60% water, but today I believe mine is 90% snot.

17.  While driving on the expressway, when you come across that jack-ass, slow-poke driving in the center lane, odds are I am the car right behind him.

18.  If it were not for Tiger Woods, we would probably still be hearing way too much about Jon and Kate.

19.  Snow in January and February is cool.  Snow in March and April sucks.

20.  Crap!  I’ve lost my glasses.  Again.

21.  I’m not really sure who Sam Worthington is, but in my book, he is no Harry Hamlin.

22.  It is going to be a close race right to the end.  Which will last longer?  My car, or my car payment?

23.  The Chicago Sun-Time ranked Frank Thomas as the greatest White Sox player of all time.  I would say I would have to agree with that.  The number 35 will be retired at the ballpark on August 29th.

24.  Jameson on the rocks.  Mmmm.  Now that’s a tasty drink.

25.  Never trust a vegetarian when they tell you something taste just like meat.  For God’s sake, they wouldn’t know meat if it bit them on the ass.

26.  Has it really been twenty years since The Adventures of Ford Fairlane was released?  Do you think there is still hope for a sequel?

27.  Thanks to Bernadette, I will never forget that 02134 is a zip code in Boston, Massachusetts.

28.  Easter is the season of Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs!

29.  Is Adrienne Barbeau still considered a “working” actress?  She was really at her best in Escape from New York.  But she was not in The Warriors.  That was the girl from Too Close for Comfort.  She kind of dropped off the face of the Earth.

30.  NyQuil has just never been the same since they took the phenylephrine out of it.  I could really use a double dose of the old formula tonight.

31.  Just what part of slower traffic keep right is so freaking hard to understand???

32.  “The time has come for us to lay it all down, there can be no more denying, if I can’t have you I’m dying, a little more every day.”

33.  I should probably start some sort of work out program soon.  Or I could just be that real fat guy at my own wedding.  I am strangely ok with that.

34.  Did Meg Madden really say she like the song Who Let the Dogs Out?

35.  That whole penny for your thought thing is really seeming not worth it at this point.

36.  Well, the bank wants its money for the house, and the hospital wants its money for the x-rays.  I guess the house wins.  What is the hospital going to do?  Re-break Alex’s thumb?

37.  Is Adam Rich ready for a comeback?  I’m pretty sure Willie Aames is available for the Eight is Enough reunion.  That is unless he is working on the Charles in Charge: The Movie.

 38.  That smell is not me.  Is it?

39.  I am not really sure what all the big fuss was about with the Canadian women’s hockey team celebrating with alcohol after they won their gold medal game.  I’m pretty sure most of the curling teams are drinking during their matches.

40.  It is probably not such a good thing when crap squirts out of your eye when you sneeze.

41.  I find it more entertaining to picture Kathy Bates singing the Taylor Swift song You Belong to Me in the style of Annie Wilkes from Misery

42.  “I think somebody better put out the big light, cause I can’t stand to see you this way.”

43.  Marney’s blog is so much better than mine.  Mom always did like her better.

44.  The whole no meat on Friday thing seems a little unfair as far as the vegetarians are concerned. I think they should be forced to eat at Fogo de Chao each Friday.

45.  In my opinion, since our society has gotten so lazy that we don’t even get out of the car when we order food, I believe we have forfeited our right to complain if the order is wrong.  Just eat what they give you and shut up.  They only make minimum wage and there will be another fast food joint a half mile down the road anyway.

46.  Does anybody actually use that little nail file thing on the back of the clippers?  And picking your teeth doesn’t count.

47.  I have taken a liking to the young adult books at the library.  The print is bigger and I finish them quickly. 

48.  Other than Boy George, can anyone name the rest of Culture Club?  And does anybody really care?

49.  Without a doubt, hands down, Hal Jordan was by far the best Green Lantern.

50.  When I came up with this whole concept, I thought it was going to be a lot easier than this.  I’m only half way there and my mind has gone blank.  I was sure there was a bunch more worthless information crammed in here somewhere.

51.  “Do you mind if we dance with your dates?”

52.  I wish video games were more simple.  Whatever happened to just playing Mario Brothers or Zelda?

53.  Remember when the only thing on television on Sunday mornings was church for shut-in and The Magic Door.  Only we didn’t know it was a Jewish program.  We just liked that it wasn’t church.

54.  My parents used to have the best parties.  My mom called it “Club” but it was really an excuse to shut all the kids in the basement and drink. 

55.  Please tell me I did not see that Cyndi Lauper was going to be on the next Celebrity Apprentice.  Isn’t it bad enough that our former Governor has staked his claim on Reality TV.  Does his defence fund really count as a charity?

56.  Just for fun, I would like to hear Apolo Ohno sing Be My Yoko Ono while the real  Yoko Ono speeds around an ice track wearing those extra long gold skates.

57.  I hope the economy recovers soon.  I’m tired of being poor.  Oh,wait.  I was still poor before the economy took a dump.  I’m just tired of all these other poor people hanging around with me now.

58.  Calvin and Hobbes still cracks me up.

59.  Whenever anyone asks me if Maureen and I are planning to have kids, I always tell them in great details the effort it would take to reverse the vasectomy.  They tend to stay away from me after that.

60.  “I can’t stand to see you sad, I can’t bear to hear you cry, if you can’t tell me what you need, all I can do is wonder why.”

61.  When it comes right down to it, is there really anything better than a Double Stuffed Oreo Cookie?

62.  I just want to win the lotto.  Is that really too much to ask for?

63.  According to Molly, Koala Bears have bad breath.  I hope to never get close enough to find out.

64.  The whole point of a bone in a pork chop is to give you something to hold.  Don’t look at me funny when I eat a chop with my hands.  Do you eat a chicken leg with a fork and knife?

65.  When I was 15, Jimmy Schmitz and I snuck into an R rated movie at The Ogden 6 Theater.  It was the movie S.O.B. by Blake Edwards.  Julie Andrews was officially the first naked boobie I ever saw.

66.  “Hong Kong Phooey, number one super guy.  Hong Kong Phooey, quicker than the human eye.”

67.  Ok, so there is this really big iceberg, and it crashes into a glacier somewhere near Antarctica, breaking off a large piece creating another really, really big iceberg, and some glaciologist named Neal Young, who is not the same guy who sang Rockin’ in the Free World, is concerned that this could affect the level of oxygen in the oceans.  And this means what?  I have a feeling that in the whole history of the world, this is not the first time two giant piles of ice have collided. 

68.  I wonder how many potatoes I have actually eaten in my lifetime?

69.  Spring training has begun, and Jermaine Dye has still not hooked up with a new team.  Is it a sign of the times?  Has age caught up with him?  Is he being too picky about where he wants to play?  It would be a real shame to see his career end like this.

70.  Don’t tell Molly, but I actually quite enjoy the Disney Channel cartoon Phineas and Ferb.  I have actually laughed out loud while watching it on more than one occasion.  But this in no way excuses them for Hannah Montana.

71.  Ok, I can admit it.  Cross Country skiing does not make for good TV.

72.  U2 made over $108 million dollars last year.  That is an awful lot of money.  Do you think they would mind if I borrowed a couple million.  It’s not like they really need it.

73.  Growing up, my mom drank Coke, and my dad drank Pepsi.  I am not sure how it happened, but my favorite cola is Dr. Pepper.  And not the diet stuff.  I need all the sugar.

74.  My favorite episode of The Partridge Family was the one where Danny was convinced he was adopted, and went on to search for his real family.  The song they sang in that episode was Point Me in the Direction of Albuquerque.

75.  I found an interesting climbing flower for our garden this year called a Passion Flower.  Maureen hopes I never describe her as interesting. 

76.  When the doctor told me to get plenty of fluids, I have a feeling his intention was not that I could come home and drink four cups of coffee.  I might have to balance it with a shot of whiskey later.

77.  I have absolutely no desire to ever run a marathon.  I don’t even like run to the toilet.

78.  I am a sucker for competition cooking shows.  Top Chef and Chopped are great, but I prefer the original Iron Chef.  Half the fun is the dubbed voices.

79.  After more than 35 years, Carly Simon finally revealed that the subject of You’re So Vain was not Warren Beatty or James Taylor or Cat Stevens, but record executive David Geffen.  I think I like the song better when I didn’t know.

80.  So, what exactly is the point behind the ten Academy Award nominations for best picture?  All the other categories still only have five nominations, and it really weakened the field.  It is not like District 9 really has a chance here.

81.  I really miss the days of the Saturday morning cartoon. And the best was when each network would do a preview of the new cartoon season the Friday night before.  You would have to flip back and forth to figure out which station had the best line-up.

82.  Even with all this modern technology, there is really nothing better than a good game of Jenga

83.  I have to admit that I really don’t understand the whole women and shoes thing.  I don’t wear clothes that are uncomfortable, why would I put anything on my foot just because it was so cute and matched my purple purse.

84.  I have still got about six months to try and piss off as many people as possible.  We have got to get that wedding list down to just 200.

85.  Each night when I come through the font door, I remind myself that I still need to take down the outdoor Christmas lights.  But I don’t think they start fining you until the snow melts.

86.  I got a note from the school that I need to send in more lunch money.  Do these kids really need to eat every day?

87.  I don’t recall ever watching The Brady Bunch in prime time even though I am clearly old enough to have done so, but thanks to WFLD-32 in Chicago I have seen every episode as after school re-runs.

88.  Maybe I am being pig-headed, but I still have no desire to see Sandra Bullock in The Blind Side even if she wins the Oscar.

89.  I really don’t need to add any fiber to my diet.  There is no possible way I could be any more regular.

90.  If you had told me ten years ago I would be where I am today, I wouldn’t have believed it.  But now that I’m here I can honestly say I am happy with how things turned out.  This is not to say I wouldn’t change a few things if I could, but if there is anything I have learned from Marty McFly, it is don’t go mucking around with the Space-Time Continuum.

91.  “If you could see that I’m the one who understands you, been here all along, so why can’t you see”

92.  Dammit!!!!  Taylor Swift is the Anti-Christ!

93.  I really wish my nose would make up its mind.  The whole which nostril is going to work now game is getting a little tiring.

94.   If I were a betting man, my money would be on me never jumping into a lake when there is still ice on the surface.

95.  It is hard to believe that Rick Springfield actually had five top ten hits.  This would explain why he can still pack them in at the county fair.

96.  The tomato plants have started to sprout.  Spring can not be that far away.

97.  It is great that my son saved for two years to buy himself an I-Pod Touch, but it would be nice to have a conversation with him without having to get his attention first.  I don’t think he has looked up in three months.

98.  I am so proud. Molly’s class will be singing Don’t Stop Believing for the Spring music concert.

99.  I watched a man get his nose hair waxed on TV.  Was that really necessary?  That little round trimmer thing was just not good enough?

100.  As with many young men in their twenties, I went through a stage where I chose to go commando.  This is not a good idea.  I have the scar to prove it.

101.  I wonder if I can get everyone who reads this to send me $1.01?

Everybody Must Get Stoned

No, no, no.  I have not just had a flashback to the old college days at Northern Illinois University.  This is a new type of obsession.  But not quite as excessive as my sister Marney’s current fascination with all things Gaga.  As I have said in other post, I think the Olympics are just cool.  I was extremely disappointed at the loss of the 2016 games to the city of Chicago, and this past week I was again reminded just what fun the Olympics can be.  Shani Davis, Lindsey Vonn, and Shaun White can all be expected to make an appearance on our local Wheaties box in the near future, although I could have done without Miss Vonn’s gratuitous waterworks after her gold metal win.  And although I am not a great hockey fan, that game Sunday night between the United States and Canada was by far one of the most exciting events I have seen in some time.

But for me, and many others as I have recently learned, the true sport of these games in Vancouver is Curling.  If you have not had a chance to watch the extended coverage of Curling on MSNBC, you had better tune in Thursday, Friday and Saturday.  Yes, the American teams, both men and women have been eliminated, but there is still plenty of Curling excitement to be had during the metal rounds.  For those who have been living under a rock for the past week, let me provide a quick recap.  Most trace the history of Curling back to Scotland somewhere around the 14th or 15th century, but the current Olympic Curling is mostly attributed to the efforts of the Canadians.  The game itself is quite simple, which is why I think it is so appealing.  A large curling stone or rock is slid down the ice at a target known as the house.  The very center of the house is called the button, and points are scored by being the closest stone to the button.  A team scores a single point for each stone closer to the button than the other teams closest stone. The game is played in ten “innings” known as ends, and eight stones are thrown by each team at each end.  After all eight stones have been thrown, only those that still remain in the house are examined to determine points.  Stones outside the house do not score points.  And I haven’t even touched on the sweeping yet.

Although it may seem a little foreign at first, after just a few innings most people pick up the general idea and start to enjoy the game.  Our entire office has now become obsessed with the game, and it is not uncommon to hear people who less than a week ago had no idea what Curling was, express their opinion on how a stone should be played.  The game is somewhat infectious, and quickly people who were scoffing at the sport have been sucked into the action.  Just this past Friday, I was sitting in a bar with some friends when a match between Denmark and Canada caught my attention.  Before long, there we were engaged in conversation about the broadcast, and numerous people were weighing in on the potential outcome of the match.  Watching the thrower spread out on the ice like Spider-man, sliding as they line up their shot.  The sweepers brushing the ice in front of the stone as the thrower barks out orders about the amount of sweeping that needs to be done.  Some of the shots are actually quite amazing, as stones bank off of each other trying to land right on the button.

Initially, I thought it might be a good idea to get a group together and try curling, and a quick check of the internet showed that there are about seven or eight active Curling Clubs in the Chicago land area.  But unlike bowling or darts, curling is not a year-round activity, and the curling season is actually nearly over.  As with a lot of fads, I would anticipate that there will be a heightened interest in curling once the Olympic Games have concluded, but with Spring Training already starting and then March Madness to follow, then the start of the baseball season at the beginning of April, and of course playoff basketball and hockey, I have a feeling that curling will once again become a forgotten sport. 

But maybe curling is just what it should be.  That strange stoned sport with the brooms that we see only once every four years.  The red-headed step child of the athletic world.  Like the rest of the Olympics, it will soon be pushed aside in our limited memory banks as the more important major sports occupy our time.  But just when it is all but forgotten, suddenly when we least expect it, in February of 2014, curling will make a triumphant return.  Only this time halfway around the world in Sochi, Russia.  And I will once again become infatuated with this strange little sport. 

Curling will once again be king.

Why Racism Sucks

Although the basic answer may seem more than obvious, I am not so naïve as to believe that everyone shares my views on this topic.  I would like to believe that everyone would like to live in a world where race , religion, or sexual preference has nothing to do with our day-to-day treatment of people, but we don’t.  And as I will explain later, I am including myself when I make that statement.  This is one of those hot bed topics that always seems to cause a stir, no matter how lightly you tread upon the subject.  So with that in mind, I am just going to trudge forward and let the chips lie where they fall.  Some may agree with me, others will not.

As with many couples, over the past few years, Maureen and I have come to know each other very well, and we have developed an unspoken instinct towards each other.  There are times when we can have a conversation with almost no words at all.  There is almost no second guessing anymore.  We both seem to know how the other will react in certain situations.  As an example, this last Sunday we were going to dinner and watch the Super Bowl at Maureen’s parents, and our schedule was going to be a little tight.  One of our stops was to pick Alex and Molly up from their mother’s house.  We were supposed to do that at 4 on our way out of town.  While running some errands, I was dropping Maureen off at the gym while I ran to the grocery store.  At that time, Maureen asked if I would give my ex-wife a call to see if we could pick the kids up a half hour early because her mom wanted to start dinner early.  I looked at the clock that said 1:45 and then looked at my phone.  I decided to save myself the phone call.  Knowing us, we would be lucky to make the four o’clock pick-up time.  After the store, we still had to make an appetizer and two side dishes for the dinner.

When I got to the store, it was crowded.  I had to go back out to the parking lot to retrieve a cart, because the store was so busy they had not sent anyone out to bring them in.  I stuck to my list, and surprisingly made it around the store with relative ease.  Here is where things get a little hairy.  My cart was about half full, but I had way too many items for the self check out.  The sign above those registers says 15 items or less, and I am always amazed at how many people stay in those lines even with a cart overflowing with groceries.  I have been tempted on occasion to ask for a re-count.  The store was adequately staffed, and almost every register was busy ringing up customers.  I am notorious for picking the wrong line.  I almost always get stuck behind the lady who wants a price check on every other item, and then writes a check to boot.  But today I got lucky, or so I thought.

I found an aisle with just two customers.  The first was already in the process of reloading her cart with bagged goods, and the second was a young guy flipping through a magazine.  I use the term young because I basically call anyone with less grey hair than I young, but I would say he was in his early to mid-twenties.  He was African/American and there were two things about him that just seemed strange to me.  The first was the fact that the waist band on his pants seemed to hover just above where I would assume his knees should be, and the other was that he was not moving up in line.  The conveyor belt was empty by now, but he had not moved up or placed his magazine down.  Without trying to be pushy, I inched my way up hoping that he would give me enough room to start unloading my cart, but he wasn’t going to budge.  I was just about to say something when I heard a soft voice behind me. 

Excuse me.

It was young woman this time, also African/American and very pretty.  She carried with her three items, one of which was a belt.  It seemed obvious the two were together, and at first I was a little pissed that they pulled this stunt, saving a place in line while there were other customers waiting to check out.  With just three items, they could have easily used the express self check out without much of a wait.  But as long as it got the line moving again, I really didn’t care.  Only the guy was still not moving up.

Excuse me.

Now it was my turn to say something.  The young lady was checking out, and all I wanted to do was get enough room to unload my cart.  Why did he need that much room?  Then suddenly it became very obvious to me.  The young woman who had so politely passed me was paying for the three items with a $100 bill, and now she was asking the clerk to make change for her.  Suddenly, the man with the sagging paints wanted to make conversation with me, asking me if I knew directions to a Wal-mart near by.  I looked him straight in the face and told him that he and his friend needed to stop what they were doing and get out of there.  And then I started telling anyone who would look at me that we needed security here fast.  To use one of the young people’s terms, the woman was suddenly up in my face.  The former sweet voice was now harsh, and then here it came.  I was a racist.

To be very honest, race does come into play here, but not in the way I would have expected.  I second guessed myself.  My instincts were telling me something was wrong, but because of their race, I didn’t want to jump to any conclusions.  Having worked with money for many years, I know the short change scam, but I was being too cautious.  If it had been a white couple, I think I would have reacted more quickly.  But now the same thing that had made me cautious in sounding the alarm, was now being thrown back in my face.  I turned to the kid who was working the register, who by the way was also African/American but was obviously still in high school, and told him that he should hold on to the change until he got a manager over here first.  Unfortunately, in the confusion, the clerk gave back the money, and the couple made a break for the door.

As I said before, I am not so dumb as to think racism does not exist, but I also know that it goes both ways.  This is not the first time I have been accused of being a racist, and I am sure it wont be the last.  For some people it has become an easy excuse.  If things are not going your way, it’s not your fault.  The other guy is a racist.  And that is a problem.  Because then it takes away from all those who really are involved in a situation where they are being descriminated against.  It is like the boy who cried wolf.  If you keep shouting about the big bad white racist, then it is going to be that much harder to get the world to listen when it is really needed.  I know racism still exists.  And I am thankful that I have parents who did their part to show me the right way to combat it.  And I can only hope that I have now passed those same feeling on to my own kids.  I don’t want my kids to have to live in a world where people are still judged by standards that have nothing to do with what they are like as human beings.  I didn’t stop that couple from taking advantage of that store clerk because of the color of their skin.  I did it because they were doing something wrong.  And for me to look the other way, no mater what their race, would have been wrong too.

And that is why racism sucks.

World’s Worst Dad

As any parent will tell you, from time to time. we all do things that make us feel like the worst parent that ever walked the face of the earth.  For me, it usually involves a sick or hurt child.  Having taken way too many trips to the emergency room where the outcome was basically that nothing was wrong, on occasion I have put off seeking medical attention for what I thought was a minor ailment that later turned out to be more serious.  But that was not the case this weekend.  My most recent run-in with the title World’s Worst Dad did not come at the expence of one of my kids health, but it did leave me a little broken-hearted.  Especially since it came at Molly’s expense. 

Of my three kids, Molly is by far, the most loving and sensitive.  Stephanie and Alex, although different as night and day, are both very independent.  But Molly is the eternal clinger.  When Molly gets in trouble, the tears begin to flow.  As the youngest child, she has always had to battle a little more for attention, and as the smallest she is very often over powered by her two older siblings.  She is not shy, but can be intimidated by others, especially older kids.  She is very often too eager to please, and this has gotten her in a bit of hot water from time to time.  I also have a special soft spot for her because of how young she was at the time of my divorce.  It was a tough time for all of us, and Molly was really looking for that reassurance that despite what was going on, her mom and dad both still loved her.  I think she still holds in some of these fears even today.

During that time, I moved out of the house for the first time just after the New Year in 2006.  By then it was painfully obvious that the divorce was going to happen, although no formal paper work had been started yet.  I will admit that I was not in the best of shape at that time, and as a father I was inept.  On a trip to a small game arcade called Wilderness Falls, Molly won this neon green friendship bracelet, and she gave it to me and asked me to wear it forever.  That way she would always know we were friends.  How could I say no?  And I took my promise seriously.  A very worn and much faded green string still loops around my right wrist today.

Before I continue, it is time for a quick confession.  The original neon green friendship bracelet broke about a month after Molly gave it to me.  It was only made of a somewhat elastic string, and it constantly had to be re-adjusted or it would fall off.  During one of the adjustments, it just snapped in two.  Not wanting to tell Molly that it broke, I headed back over to the arcade and picked up a couple of extras.  The one I am wearing now is actually the third, but it is the one that has been in place the longest.  The second one slipped off my wrist at some time and just disappeared.  I believe there might actually be one more stuffed away in the top drawer of my dresser under some underwear, next to all the teeth the Tooth Fairy has collected over the years.

For the past few years, Molly and I have taken part in a park district event called The Daddy Daughter Dance.  It is not really a big fancy event, but most of the dads treat it as one.  We all wear shirts and ties, and the girls put on their best dresses.  Flowers and a cheesy photo and a bad dinner are all part of the fun.  For a cheep park district event, it is very well done, and the girls all seem to enjoy the night out with dad.  The event is always held the weekend before Valentines Day, but you have to sign up in advance.  And that is where I blew it.  Last Saturday after Molly’s ice skating lessons, I was supposed to run over to the park district and sign us up.  Well, it was a very full day and Maureen and I had three different places we had to be that day, and I forgot to sign us up.  Even later in the week, when Maureen asked me if we had plans for Saturday night, the event completely slipped my mind.  It wasn’t until Friday night, on my way home that it suddenly popped into this thick skull of mine.

I frantically called as many of the park district offices as I could find numbers for.  A very nice lady at one place took pity on me and gave me the office number for the woman who puts the night together.  I called and left a message, but the reality was sinking in fast.  It was time to give Molly a call and break the bad news.   I told her what I had done, and I could hear the disappointment in her voice.  It really is a silly little dance, but it means so much to Molly just to have that special night just the two of us.  I promised her that if I could not get us into the dance, we would still have a date night, and that I would take her out to dinner.  Once again, Maureen stepped in to save the day, and reminded me that the ice show was still in town, and maybe that would be a fun alternative.

On Saturday morning, I placed more phone calls and left more messages and stopped by the park district office in person to check and see if there was anything that could be done.  While I was there, another dad was also looking to try and get tickets for the dance, but the lady behind the desk told us it was sold out.  She also said we were not the only dads who had dropped the ball on this one, and that there had been a number of fathers stopping by.  If her intent was to make me feel better it didn’t work.  I had already ordered Molly a small wrist corsage just in case, so I headed over there to pick it up.  When the much too jovial lady told me to have fun at the dance, it was like rubbing salt in the wound.  Of course I didn’t correct her.

On my way to pick Molly up from her ice skating class, I called a friend and got two tickets to Disney on Ice.  I then made a reservation at a nice restaurant near where the ice show was performing.  When I picked up Molly, she ran right up to me and gave me a big hug.  She asked if I had gotten the tickets and I had to admit I did not.  I then filled her in on our alternate plans, and I could see the smile start to build.  I showed her the flowers and told her we would still have a nice date night.  We spent the rest of the afternoon just the two of us, running errands and getting ready for our night.  I asked Molly to pick out a tie for me.  In honor of the ice show, she picked out an old Mickey Mouse tie I had from my days running movie theaters.  While I was still getting ready, I heard Molly and Maureen talking, and Maureen was explaining that this was going to be even better than the dance, because it was going to be just the two of us.  This really seemed to make Molly happy.

And it really was a great date.  We talked and laughed and ate too much and had a nice time.  I was feeling much better about my mistake and that disappointed look never returned to Molly’s face.  I know it may sound like a bit of a cliché, but kids really just want to know that they are special and that they are loved.  What we did that night was not nearly as important as spending the time together.  It was our special night.  At the end of the night, Molly even suggested that we do this again next year instead of the dance.  What else could I say?  I told her next year we would do both.  That way we would have two date nights.  I better not mess it up again.

Super Bowl Someday

As we are quickly approaching Super Sunday and all the hype and festivities that go with it, I have noticed a common theme among the sports talk shows and analyst.  The New Orleans Saints have never been to or won a Super Bowl.  Although they are not the only team to fall into this category, there are four other teams that have never taken part in the game, and 15 of the current teams have never won the Super Bowl including the Minnesota Vikings who lost to New Orleans in the NFC Championship Game, it seems that you just can’t talk about the game without this fact being mentioned.  The Saints are not favored to win the game, so this also adds to that underdog feeling associated with sports.  If your team is not in the game, this added information may turn you into a New Orleans Saints fan, at least for one day.  But as far as championship droughts go, the Saints do not even come close to topping the list.  There are eight other football franchises that have longer droughts, and if you include all four of the major American professional sports, they would only come in at number 18. 

So, who are these other teams that have not won a championship in their sports for so long?  I think I smell another Top Ten list coming.  Some will be obvious, but a few might be surprising.  To make it easier, I have ranked them by the date of their last championship.  In the case of a team that has never won a championship, the date given is the first game they played.  In the case of the New Orleans Saints, the date would be September 17, 1967.  I have also limited my list to just American sports teams.  Although I am sure there is a rugby team somewhere that hasn’t won it like 80 years, this list is confined to the sports I know.

Top Ten Worst American Sports Droughts

10  –  Chicago Blackhawks  –  April 16th, 1961

The only hockey team to make the top ten, and one of the Original Six that helped form the NHL in 1926.  The Blackhawks have won the Stanley Cup three times, but a long history of ownership turmoil have help keep them from winning.  The last time the Blackhawks made it to Stanley Cup Finals was back in 1992, but they were beaten by the Pittsburgh Penguins in four straight games.  New ownership and a young team have revitalized hockey in Chicago, and the Blackhawks advanced to the Western Conference Championship last season, but lost out to the Detroit Red Wings.  Of all the teams on this list, the Blackhawks would seem to have the best chance at ending their drought.

9  –  Texas Rangers  –  April 10, 1961

The Rangers began life as the Washington Senators back in 1961, this was actually the third baseball team to play in Washington using the name, and the previous team had just left the year before, moving to Minnesota to become the Twins.  To ward off threats against its antitrust exemption, MLB added two teams in 1961, the other was a new California team in Los Angeles called the Angels.  While in Washington, the team only managed one winning season, and lack of ticket sales along with some questionable financial problems led to the team being relocated to Arlington where they were renamed the Texas Rangers.  Since that time, the Rangers have only made the playoffs three times, and have a dismal post season record of 1-6.

8  –  Philadelphia Eagles  –  December 26, 1960

In the days before the Super Bowl, the Eagles last won the NFL Championship in 1960.  In all, they won three NFL Championships, the other two being in 1948 and 1949.  They have made it to the Super Bowl twice, in 1980 where they were beaten by the Oakland Raiders, and again in 2004 when they lost to the New England Patriot.  Since coming under new ownership in 1994, the Eagles have consistently done well, winning their division five times and making the playoffs ten time.  But they just can’t seem to make that final step and win the whole thing.

7  –  Atlanta Hawks  – April 12, 1958

Another transplanted team, but this time several times over.  The franchise was originally formed in 1946 as the Buffalo Bison as part of the National Basketball League.  After playing just 13 games, they were relocated to Moline, Illinois where they became known as the Tri-City Blackhawks, and were one of the original 17 teams that formed the NBA in 1949.  In 1951, the team was moved again, this time to Wisconsin, and the name was shortened to the Milwaukee Hawks.  Four years later, the team moved yet once again, and became the St. Louis Hawks, where in 1958 they won their only NBA Championship.  The team contended several times during the sixties, but never managed to capture another title, then in 1968 the team was sold and finally moved to Atlanta.  Although the team did have some success during the eighties, the Atlanta Hawks have never managed to make it past the semi-finals. 

6  –  Detroit Lions  –  December 29, 1957

The Lions spent their first four seasons as the Portsmouth Spartans before moving to Detroit in 1934.  After winning the NFL Championship in their second season as the Lions, the team remained pretty dismal until the 1950’s where they won three Championships in six years.  After that, there is really not much to talk about.  Since the inseption of the Super Bowl for the 1966 season, the Lions have only made the playoffs nine times, and have amassed a record of 1-9.  Needless to say, the Lions have yet to play on Super Bowl Sunday.

5  –  San Francisco Giants  –  October 2, 1954

Technically, the San Francisco Giants are yet to win the World Series, it was the New York Giants led by Willie Mays that won the 1954 World Series, beating the Cleveland Indians in four games.  Since the move, the Giants have made it to the World Series three times, most recently in 2002, but there most famous series in San Francisco has to be the series of 1989.  The Giants were swept by the Oakland A’s, but not until after a ten-day delay.  Game three was scheduled for October 17, 1989 at Candlestick Park, but an earthquake measuring 6.9 on the Richter Scale postponed the game until October 27th.  The delay did nothing to help the Giants.

4  –  Sacramento Kings  –  April 21, 1951

Yet another team that had trouble staying in one place.  In their history, the Kings have won two championships.  In just their second year as the Rochester Royals, they won the National Basketball League Championship, and they won their only NBA Championship in 1951.  In 1957, the team was moved to Cincinnati, but it wasn’t until they moved again in 1972 that the name was changed.  Between 1972 and 1975, the team split it’s home games between Kansas City and Omaha, and they agreed to change their name so that there would be no confusion with the baseball Kansas City Royals.  The Omaha market was eventually dropped, and the Kansas City Kings were later moved to Sacramento in 1985.  The Kings did have some moderate success in the early part of the last decade, but they never made it past the Conference Finals.

3  –  Cleveland Indians  –  October 11, 1948

In 1901, Cleveland was one of the eight charter members of the American League, although the history of the team can be traced back to 1894 and the Grand Rapids Rustlers.  When they originally joined the American League, they were the Cleveland Blues, but after several name changes, they settled on the Indians in 1915.  They won their first World Series in 1920, but didn’t return to the fall classic again until they beat the Boston Braves in 1948.  The Indians made it back to the World Series one more time in 1954, losing to the Giants, before starting a very long slide of losing years.  It wasn’t until the mid nineties that the Indians became a dominate force in baseball, winning the American League Central six times in seven years.  During that stretch, they reached the World Series twice, but losing both times, to the Atlanta Braves in 1995, and the expansion Florida Marlins in 1997.  Seven post season trips over the past 15 years, have failed to produce any World Series Championships.

2  –  Arizona Cardinals  –  December 28, 1947

Last year, the Cardinals were this year’s Saints.  They reached the Super Bowl for the first time in franchise history.  The last time they had even participated in a championship game was in 1948, the year after they won their last NFL Championship.  But in those days, they were the Chicago Cardinals, where they competed directly against the Chicago Bears and played in Comiskey Park.  In 1960, the team moved to St. Louis where they remained until 1987.  During that time, the Cardinals only made the playoffs three times, never winning a game.  After losing the Super Bowl last year, the team made the playoffs again this year, but lost the Divisional Game to the New Orleans Saints.

1  –  Chicago Cubs  –  October 14, 1908

Ok, I am not going to dwell on this one for very long.  We all knew who the number one team was.  There is a reason why they called the team The Loveable Losers, although many of their current fans are not willing to accept that title anymore.  The Cubs have won the World Series twice, in 1907 and 1908, both times beating the Detroit Tigers.  Ironically, it was the same Tigers that beat the Cubs in their last World Series appearance in 1945.  They did not make another post season appearance until 1984, where after going up two games to none against the San Diego Padres, they lost the next three games, ending their chance at the long eluded championship.  This past winter, the Cubs came under new ownership, and it is in the hands of the Ricketts Family that the fate of the Cubs now rests. 

 The one good thing about being on this list is that it only takes one winning year to take you from the top to the bottom.  Just ask the Red Sox and the White Sox.  In 2004, the Red Sox ended an 86 year drought by winning the World Series for the first time since 1918, and the very next year, the White Sox ended their own 88 year drought, becoming World Series Champions for the first time since 1917.

What Did I Learn? Grammy 2010

I have to start by being completely honest here.  I had no desire at all to watch the Grammy Awards last night, and I did not watch the entire show.  There was a little bit of friendly persuasion involved, and I am glad I got to see what I did.  It was very educational.  That is really all the set up that is needed.

The Top 10 Things I Learned While Watching the Grammy Awards!

10  –  It is possible to stop Kanye West

I am pretty sure Taylor Swift was looking over her shoulder every time she took the stage to accept an award, but she was in luck, there were no interruptions.  I was hoping that Kanye had developed a sense of control, but it appears that to make sure he did not make a fool of himself yet again, he skipped the night all together.  Although if you caught the look on Nicole Kidman’s face when Taylor won for Best Country Album, you could tell she was wishing Kanye had been there.

9  –  Stephen Colbert is funny, but predictable.

So, who didn’t know Stephen Colbert was going to ask his daughter if he was cool now after winning his Grammy for Best Comedy Album.  I actually found his opening monologue very funny, but it didn’t seem to play as well to the crowd.  It is easy to laugh out loud at the controversial stuff when the only other person there to hear you laugh is sitting on the red couch next to you, also giggling.  And listening to the third whitest man on the planet diss Jay-Z was quite enjoyable to me.  (Just to clarify, I am officially the second whitest man on the planet, and my use of the word diss even in writing was somewhat awkward.  According to some sources, Tim Gunn is the whitest man on the planet, but these same sources tell me he still has more street cred than I do.)

8  –  I want to party with Kings Of Leon

If any one group was completely unprepared to have their name called, it was Kings Of Leon.  Their self admitted drunken acceptance of the Record of the Year Award made them the top of my want to party with list.  There are two types of drunks in the world, Fun Drunks and Messy Drunks.  They proved that they are indeed Fun Drunks, and I have sent them an official Facebook invitation to the Super Bowl Party next Sunday at Finley Dunne’s.  If you don’t know where Finley Dunne’s is, you are obviously not cool enough to hang out with Kings Of Leon.

7  –  Green Day doesn’t need to guest star on Glee

One of Stephen Colbert’s better received jokes summarized that you know you have made it when they cover your song on the choir inspired show Glee.  Little did he know, Billie Joe Armstrong already beat him to the punch with his Rent inspired American Idiot: The Musical.  I am assuming that the members of Green Day did not come up with this idea on their own, but in my opinion, they have lost all standing as a “punk” band with this move.  The production number itself was really quite good, and the stage singers actually did a very nice job blending in with the band, but there is nothing more mainstream than a Broadway Musical.  It was always one of my biggest complaints about Rent.  How anti-establishment can you be when you’re catering to the rich well to do crowd you are supposedly rebelling against.  I will bet my house we will never see a musical based on the songs of The Ramones or The Clash.

6  –  Beyonce’ is Hot

Ok, so maybe this is not news to the rest of the world, but remember, I am the second whitest man on the planet.  Beyond that, she is also very talented.  I did not know that song she sang, and I got the eye roll from Maureen when I asked if it was a new song.  I was also not too crazy about the whole crotch grab thing.  It seemed a little awkward and forced.  Again Maureen, who knows much more about these things than I do, seemed to think it was some sort of tribute to Michael Jackson.  The entire number was very impressive.  Before this, the only thing I knew about Beyonce’ is that she used to be in a group called Destiny’s Child, and that according to those same sources, she does not moonlight as Rihanna.  Personally, I have never been in the same room with both of them at the same time, so until I do I will still have my doubts.  But there is no denying that the woman has some major talent.  And luckily a lot of double-sided tape.

5  –  Playing with Gaga will get you burnt

Did you see poor Elton John?  He got out flamed in more ways than one.  The opening number was interesting to say the least, but it should have put to rest any of those lingering rumors that Lady Gaga is not all lady.  I was going to post a picture here to illustrate my point, but it was too uncomfortable for me to even look at it.  Let’s just say there is a camel somewhere missing a foot.  I was really going to try to do this list without mentioning Gaga, but something just seemed wrong about that.  Her presence is too difficult to miss, even if her act has the draw of an accident on the Autobahn.  When it calmed down to just her and Sir Elton and the pianos, it was a nice duet.  But that lady is one serious freak.

4  –  Pink has a future with Cirque du Soleil

My like or dislike of Pink runs very hot and cold.  There are a number of her songs that I have enjoyed even if it took me a while to figure out that the lyrics were not as bouncy and fun as the songs themselves.  But as of late, it seems her music is overly obsessed with her ex-husband Carey Hart.  I understand that as an artist one must draw from their feelings and current emotions can direct the creative stream, but it seemed like almost every song was about the destruction of their relationship.  That aside, I have to admit that Pink gave the most impressive performance of the night.  Even more amazing when you realize she was working without a net or a safety harness.  If she did have some sort of safety devise somewhere, it was so well hidden that the illusion of danger was never broken.  And unless the wireless devise strapped to her shoulder was an illusion also, she did it without lip syncing.

3  –  I have deep sympathy for Michael Jackson’s children

Bare with me a little on this one, it may not come out the way I intend.  Certainly, one would have sympathy for any child who has lost a parent, but in this case their loss has been so public that it is going to have a lasting effect on their lives.  Normally, I would find myself not commenting on people who were born into such privilege.  They tend to not be in true contact with the normal world that the everyday folks live in.  Yes, these kids will be well cared for financially for the rest of their lives, but at what cost.  Because of who Michael Jackson was, and all the controversy that surrounded him, these kids lives are already messed up.  There was almost something creepy about the way his oldest son talked about his father’s message of love.  It is almost as if the “handlers” have already gotten a hold of these kids, and they are preparing them for some sort of career in the industry already.  There are so many unanswered questions about their father and their own lives that the tabloids are looking to find the answers to.  Their lives will never be normal.  I feel bad for them.  They are not in for an easy life.

2  –  If you mention Taylor Swift and Stevie Nicks doing a duet, my TV magically changes over to the Food Network.

I am not going to name names, but it seems that someone in our house really does not like Stevie Nicks, and just the thought of having to watch her and Taylor swift on stage together was enough to end our night with the Grammy Awards.  Even without the upcoming music that was promised, it probably was about the end of my Grammy night anyway.  It was almost nine o’clock already, and we had been out late the night before at a wedding, so my eyes were already starting to sag just a little.  There did come one time in the show when I knew I was just too old for the new music crowd.  As they were announcing the nominees for Best New Artist, Maureen and I looked at each other and realized we didn’t know who any of these people were.  I also didn’t really mind that the change came when it did, because we normally watch Wost Cooks in America on Sunday night, but I fell asleep before I found out if Fern made it to the finals.  (Side Note:  If you have been watching the show, there is not a contestant named Fern.  That is just the name I have given to the little jewish lady with the big glasses.  She looks just like this girl I knew in college named Fern Evans.  Sorry for the confusion.)

1  –  I have had my fill of Black Eyed Peas

Especially the tall long-haired guy who does his best impression of Zoolander every time he finds the camera.  Does he even really add anything to the band?  I have had the pleasure of seeing them perform several times on various award shows, and I can’t figure out why this guy is even up there.  If I were the texting type, I would have had to send out a WTF to all my friends at the end of that performance.  Once again, I understand that I am the second whitest guy on the planet, but did anyone find that performance good?  To make maters worse, what were those dancing pink things behind them on stage?  Please excuse me for being a little blunt, but they looked like giant parts of a woman’s body that rhymes with the name Dolores.  I have given the Black Eyed Peas enough of a chance.  I am done with them, and I do not feel satisfied at all.