Monday, May 31, 2010

Blurred Realities

After spending much of the holiday weekend with family and friends, I find myself at home this evening, watching "Gangs of New York." It's high time I actually saw this motion picture and 132 minutes in, I feel that it's been a worthwhile Netflix rental. That said, I'm struggling with a couple of details from the film.

No, I haven't spent the whole picture wondering if the main antagonist is hiding a rabbit in his ridiculously tall top hat. No, I haven't been concerned about figuring out how in the world Gilbert Grape was transported back in time. My concern lies in the fact I can't view one character without thinking of his alternate life in another movie.

The character in question- a gang member turned crooked constable - is played by John C. Reilly. The role is a completely serious one, but every time his face has popped up on my television I have expected him to yell out "Shake and bake" or talk about Jesus wearing a tuxedo t-shirt. It has happened yet, but it's destined to, right?

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Please consult the rulebook...

Is there a rule written in a book somewhere that reads: If a thermometer reaches 80-degrees on any given day, all young men that (1) reside in a college town, and (2) have ridden in a boat, seen a picture of a boat, or even have a vague idea of what a boat is, must parade around in shirtless fashion as if adorning themselves with tops of any sort has been outlawed by the ICCR*? My brother and I noticed this disturbing trend the other day, realizing that every other guy filling their cars at the gas station apparently served as ticket brokers for gun shows. I realize you have been lifting weights and baking yourself in artificial fashion all winter, Mr. Look-at-my-pecs, but shirts are still considered standard dress for... well, pretty much everywhere but beaches, pools, and the "skins" side of a basketball game. I enjoy my belly button as much as the next guy likes his, but that doesn't mean I feel the need to show it to the general public on a regular basis.

*International Commission for Clothing Regulations, obviously.

Yes, your shirt may seem constricting. It may not "allow you to breathe" or let you show off that tattoo that you'll regret in 20 years. You must be aware, though, that wearing shirts is one that that separates us from the animal community (aside from those poor dogs that are dressed by their owners. There's a definite reason why dogs bite). If we quit wearing shirts, there's one less thing that makes humans unique. Sure, we'll still have the fact that we celebrate people for no reason other than the fact that they have more money than us, but still.

You also can't forget that if we do away with t-shirts, we won't have any way of alerting others that we're "with stupid. ----->" That, dear readers, would be a tragedy.


A busy day resulted in the first hiccup in my post-a-day pledge. I'd like this opportunity to place blame, but I'm not really sure who I'd try to burden with it.

How about mongooses (mongeese?)? Can I blame them?

Thursday, May 27, 2010

False Advertising

There's a billboard here in town that advertises a local bank. The bank's selling point is that they care. They aren't one of those banks that sees you only as an account holder; rather, they actually want to get to know you. The billboard advertises said point illustrating the that at other banks, customers are greeted with someone saying "Account number?" At this wonderful bank, however, the billboard says you are greeted by someone saying, "Hi Fred."

In economic times like we're experience, it seems that a bank would be best off advertising that it is trustworthy; that those who manage it won't take their money and hop the next plane to Guam. This bank takes the personal route, assuming that you will feel like you trust your friends with your money.

My beef with this ad is not the fact that not all friends are to be trusted with your money (though they're not). It is not even the fact that the billboard features cartoon heads with no bodies. No, my beef with this billboard is one simple thing:

My name isn't Fred.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Longest Minute Ever

Ever watched the show "Minute to Win it"? No? Good call. The NBC program involves contestants completing "challenges" that are often the sort of thing on might do at summer camp. The hook is that those taking part only have one minute to complete each challenge. Yes, the rhyme masters at NBC worked overtime to create the title of this show. Apparently some folks call this good television. I call it an illustration of the fact that there's way too much money out there.

Guy Fieri, of Food Network fame, makes good sense to host the show because he... likes food. Well, that may not be a great reason, but what about the fact that he... has awkward fashion sense. Okay, I really have no idea what qualifies a guy that is famous for pigging out at Diners, Drive-ins, Dives, etc., across the nation to host a poor attempt at a game show. But it's just the host, let's move on.

Tonight's contestants are an engaged couple, looking to win major cash to have a "fairy tale wedding." Do they realize many fairy tales originally had some pretty grotesque moments prior to being Disneyized? "Cinderalla" originally involved self-mutilation, after all. "Little Red Riding Hood" was eaten by the wolf before being cut from it's belly and "Snow White" involved the queen eating the heart of a deer... Think "Grimm" was a fitting name yet?

The first competition is called the "Chocolate Unicorn." The game involves stacking chocolates on one's head, otherwise known as Guy's weekend plans. (It's about time that The Writings took a shot at him for no apparent reason... The Writings: Taking Successful Folks down 1/128 of a notch at a time.)

Game two is called "extreme hanky panky." Luckily, the game fights the images the name might conjure up and is safe for network television. In preparing for the game, which involves pulling tissues from boxes (get it? Hanky!... Hilarious.) the female half of the couple talks of how her significant other calls her "baby" and she calls him "boo." She then starts yelling "baby boo!" I'm not sure it's possible to root for people to fail more than I'm rooting against these folks now.

Minute tries to create suspense and anticipation in a cliffhangery sense by announcing the rules of a game and then skipping to commercial right before the contestants start it. Unfortunately for the network, this has the opposite effect on viewers like me. Frankly, I'm relieved when a break from the action comes, just because I no longer feel like I'm getting dumber by the minute. (See what I did there? "By the minute"? Two can play your game, NBC!)

A couple more games pass by and the feminine half of the couple lets forth repeated banshee-like screams after winning one challenge with one second left. Yes she's excited. Alas, the game involved putting jellybeans in cups, leaving me far less than impressed.

The level five challenge involves flicking raisin boxes out from underneath soda bottles, and I'm beginning to wonder how bored the creators of this show have been at various points in their lives to think of such games. Hobbies are everywhere, people. Read a book or something. My hope for humanity lessens when the Angelina of this Brangelina pairing admits that she "loves this game." Not only does she consider this fancy recycling method a "game," but she has "played" it before. Sweet mercy.

As the show moves forward, we learn more details about the couple. Such facts include the fact that he's a probation officer. This makes sense. He's seen people suffer, so now he's trying it himself courtesy his fiancee's soul-grating voice.

As the Y-chromosome of the pair competes in challenge, Guy exclaims "he owns this!" The challenge involves hitting Styrofoam plates with a broom in order to make a marshmallow pop up in the air, which he must then catch in a glass. And yet, his friends laughed when he enrolled in "The Effects of an Accelerating Broom on Styrofoam" and "Marshmallows, Wind Resistance, and You" during his time in school.

With the next challenge, it's revealed that Mr. Probation Officer "is greatness" when it comes to the ancient art of shoe-tossing. How can parents not be proud of a kid with such skills?*

*Then again, the successful shoe toss just earned the couple $125,00... Apparently I need to start practicing.

In debating whether or not to go for $250,000, the annoying chick says "It's amazing for something like this to happen to someone like me," for the second time. I assume she is utilizing the "someone like me" qualifier to reflect the fact that she's a middle class citizen. Unfortunately, after listening to her speak for an hour, I might use it to cover a different quality; something more Carrot Top-ian.

After the longest series of minutes of my life, I'm left wondering what might be less impressive than competing on this show.

...Oh yeah, probably writing about it.


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Foibles in Broadcasting

According to an announcer calling the night's Dodgers-Cubs game, outfielder Xavier Nady "literally has no throwing arm."


I have yet to figure out if he catches the ball with his teeth and then kicks it back to the infield, but I'll let you know as soon as reports are confirmed.

Question of the Night: May 25, 2010

If I put on a Texas Rangers ball cap, would I automatically have the ability to hit a home run off Royals pitcher Gil Meche?

It seems like that's all it takes... Lousy baseball.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Try Again - A story from The Writings' fiction department

Skidding rubber left a black trail on the asphalt as the rickety old pickup - the type one sees rolling down the road and wonders how in the world it maintains forward motion - slid to a stop. With the four wheels of the 1986 model now slightly askew to the highway's tidy parallel lines, the skid marks looked a bit like a child's cute attempt at showing of his skills with a black crayon. The road art, however, wasn't what drew the curse from the driver's lips.

"Dammit," Glenn said, rubbing at his chin with his right hand. "What are we 'posed to do now?"

"Maybe we can just keep going," Doc said from the passenger seat. "Just zip right by and pretend we didn't see it."

Glenn's eyes became tight slits, like the coin slots on a Coke machine, as he looked at his friend sitting shotgun. His mother had taught him to read 42 years earlier and - thought he was certainly no professor now - he'd had some education since that point. He knew this was not the type of thing you just go and ignore. His face, wrinkled from years long passed and weary from the hours they had already been on the road, turned red, like a home sporting the first coat of a new paint job.

"Keep going? Whaddaya mean, keep going?" Glenn's face shook back and forth to emphasize the close of each sentence. Combined with he crimson mask he wore, it made it appear that his head might actually explode. "Seems'ta me that things are pretty clear; we can't go not further. Seems'ta me that you were hollerin' 'Stop! Stop! Stop!' just the same as I was cussin' when we saw that from back down the road."

Doc, feeling like the time he had told Glenn that he thought the designated hitter was a bad addition to baseball, since it removed a lot of the managerial strategy from the game, attached his eyes firmly to what was left of the truck's floormat. Confrontation wasn't his thing. It was much easier to roll through life being agreeable. There were a lot more smiles that way. He was wrong about the DH, and he was probably wrong now.

But what if he wasn't? The thought bounced in his mind like a bunt off the top of home plate. His eyes still anchored to the floor mat. The pickup was silent, except for Conway Twitty's voice echoing from the radio speakers.

"What I mean is, what if we ain't reading that sign right? What if it don't really mean, 'Hey, stop here in the middle of the road.' I mean, the road keeps going, so why can't we?"

As the words escaped Doc's lips, the second coat of paint seemed to cover Glenn's face. "Do you think I'm an idiot or something? I know what it says and I know we can't go no further." Conway Twitty was no longer audible, as Glenn's diatribe boosted volume as he spoke. If there truly was an 11 on a volume dial somewhere, it may have been in Glenn's throat.

"You're probably right," Doc said, still studying the floor mat's tattered edges.

"I am right," Glenn said, cooling back down. Conway's lyrics gave way to those of Hank Williams as Glenn whipped the balding wheels in a U and headed back in the direction they had come from. As they sped back down the highway, a cloud of exhaust swept past the sight that had brought all to a stop in the first place.

The sign read: DO NOT PASS.

Today's moral: Always keep an open mind, and remember that misinterpretation can keep you from getting anywhere.

Bonus moral: Though paint chips may sound appetizing - perhaps even delicious - one should do all they can to avoid consumption.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

New Definition

Satisfying finale: See: Lost, Final Episode of

Seriously. If you have never gotten into the show, I implore to find 120 or so free hours to view all six seasons. It's worth your time.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Question of the day

Is there a chance that lettuce could one day grow some rampantly that it could take over the world?

If area sandwich shops are any indication, the answer to this question is an overwhelming "yes." After all, whenever the folks behind the sandwich counter query what items I would like between a pair of pieces of bread, the moment the word "lettuce" escapes my vocal cords the sandwich artists seems to dig into the container of leafy greens like there's a prize at the bottom. The result is a club sandwich that apparently hopes to avoid being pinched on St. Patrick's Day.

I figure the reasoning behind this lettuce generosity must be that lettuce is highly volatile if it remains earthbound too long. If too much grows in our Earthly soil at once, the lettuce can develop self-awareness and then begin planning the demise of all other living organisms. The only way to counteract this is to pick as much lettuce as possible and then separate it in healthy heaps to sandwich-lovers everywhere. Why don't we just plant less lettuce, rather than capitalizing the "L" in bLt?


Good question.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Four-letter word that rhymes with frost

One of the foremost things on my mind lately is a subject that involves a spinal surgeon, a con man, a fugitive, an unlucky lottery winner, and an island of mystery. While that sounds a bit like the set-up for a really horrible joke (and I am very familiar with really horrible jokes), in reality it is nothing of the sort; just simple truth. You see, the last episode ever of one of my favorite television programs of all time (Lost, if you had yet to solve this puzzle) takes place on Sunday. It's a show my brother got me hooked on a couple seasons in, and since that point I have been hooked like the arm of a certain captain in Neverland.

The mysteries of the show have always intrigued me. I'd like to write about plot-points and theories in detail, but I know a pair of readers that viewing the show through the majesty of DVD and have not gotten past the fourth season yet. Thus, what follows is my Lost Writing, edited to be spoiler free for those who are behind in their viewing.

To begin, we have to discuss Jack Shephard. Viewed as the hero of the story since the pilot episode, it was revealed recently that he's now (content removed). This is quite a far cry from the days that he was (content removed). The fact that he is now the (word deleted) for (name deleted) should play a major role in the finale.

Naturally, you can't discuss Jack without then mentioning John Locke. Through much of the series, one's yin has been the other's yang. The revelation that Locke was actually (content removed) did certainly cast a different light on the relationship, but I have to think that (content removed) in Sunday's finale.

Beyond those two, you have characters like Kate, Sawyer, Hurley, Sayid, Jin, and Sun. All have played significant roles in the series. Sure, some of them are (content removed), and others are (content removed), but I expect they all (content removed) on Sunday. After all they have (content removed) and (content removed) in the previous 5.9 seasons. That has to mean something, right?

I'm not really sure how new characters like (name deleted) and (name deleted) might behave in the finale. They're tough to get a handle on, but I think the (content removed) has really added (content removed) to the series.

On a final note, I have to mention my favorite character, (name deleted). Sure (pronoun deleted) is a (content deleted) and (pronoun deleted)'s done some really (content deleted) things, but the portrayal by (performer's name deleted) is remarkable each and every episode. It has been tough to figure out (name deleted)'s true motivations, but I really think (pronoun deleted) could play a big role in the last episode.

What a program. How can you not love a show that has involved everything from (content deleted) to (content deleted). I feel like it keeps my mind working overtime. I don't really know what my weekend will entail, but I know how 2.5 hours will be spent on Sunday night. I really hope they explain this whole (content deleted).

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Nothing to write

There's little on my mind,
there's nothing to write.
I should probably let things be,
and call it a night.

Alas, strict "hot lutefisk" rules,
force me to type away,
Subjecting you, the poor reader,
to this drivel the next day.

I had no quirky interactions,
there's no Royals game tonight.
And I'd rather not write about my neighbor's lousy rapping,
which definitely is not "tight."

I'll leave you with this, dear reader,
my advice before I'm done:
If you ever get lost in the woods while soaked in bacon grease,
you probably ought ta run.


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

A non-fiction account of a lunch hour. Why? ... Why not?

Since assuming a job that actually requires me to drive (insert horrified gasp here) each day, I have become quite the fan of eating out for lunch. Gone are the days of walking home to eat peanut butter-and-jelly sandwiches and lie on my couch from 12:02 to 12:58 p.m. In their stead are five opportunities each week to grab some fast food and either run a few errands (i.e., go tempt myself by looking at movies at Best Buy) or to dig deeper into a book that I have yet to polish off.*

*As a result, the first 147 pages of Stephen King's "The Stand" now have me terrified of simple sneezes.

Yesterday exhibited all the traits of a beautiful day. (Sunny? Check. Temperature higher than 63 but not exceeding 72-degrees? Check.) As a result, I steered my mode of vehicular conveyance (hint: it's not a rickshaw) through the Vista drive-thru and then had a nice picnic lunch at the City Park... It was gorgeous.

Today, with the sky weeping meteorologist-predicted tears, I chose to confine my dining to an indoor locale. After much inner debate, I decided that the International House of Pancakes would be the day's lunch destination. This was after I remembered that my passport was not required for entry.

At IHOP (as the kids call it), I ordered up the quick two-egg breakfast and, while I waited for such a feast to be prepared, cracked open my book. After all, what's more appetizing than reading a fictional account of a deadly plague? Opportunities to read in peace, however, were quickly disturbed as I discovered that a guy at the table across the way was one of the loudest speakers in the world. The guy, sporting cargo shorts, a goatee, and a false sense of superiority, was pretty much the funniest guy in the world. After all, everything he said drew laughs... Granted, quite often he was the only one laughing at his comments, but I'm not sure the scorekeepers discriminate against such when keeping their stats. He told some yarn about the top pancake needing to face east* and laughed heartily. He followed with some comment about his kids and chuckled away. Were his comments actually funny? Of course they were... Just ask him.

*Yes, I was as confused as you are right now.

Luckily, those in the IHOP kitchen were efficient and my food arrived relatively quickly, giving me the opportunity to concentrate on eating rather than listening to goatee man's Def Comedy Jam.

Unluckily, as I ate, I noticed something that... wait for it... I didn't understand. On my table sat an advertisement for IHOP iced coffee. I have no qualms with the pancakery offering iced coffee to its customers, just with their wording on the advertisement. The ad mentioned that three flavors of the frosty beverage are available: mocha, vanilla, and coffee. That's right. All the coffee-lovers in the world need not worry; IHOP offers coffee-flavored ice coffee. I'm sure this makes sense to some, but to me it falls in the land of unnecessary repetition. Why not name the flavor "original"? Or "classic roast"? I realize the coffee world has been Starbucktualized to a nearly unrecognizable point, but have we really reached the point that we have to clarify that a coffee beverage is available in a "coffee" flavor?

Because my mind loves such mindless debates, I pondered this throughout the rest of my meal. Or at least until the Steve Martin of IHOP customers walked by the waiter on his way out and said, in a somewhat deprecating tone, "Nice job, buddy" and then yukked it up as he walked toward the door.

Man, that guy was hilarious.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

... discuss

Another Lost night and another Royals' loss at Greinke's expense. Yup, it's a writer's block night again. While I sit here with a headache, consider the following:

Entertainment Tonight lacks any semblance of entertainment... Discuss.

Monday, May 17, 2010

National LeBrasketball Association

There's a storm coming. A media storm.

In the past, I've used this space to complain how Brett Favre's retirement waffling (the likes of which made Eggo jealous) was over-hyped. I've hit on the topic of the media's infatuation with Tim Tebow (who currently has the top-selling jersey in the NFL... What about Chris Leak?). I've even discussed the absurdity of the continual obsession of programs that dissect which Hollywood starlet made an inebriated fool of herself this week. Alas, none of these topics are going to the summer of LeBron.

You have surely heard by now that NBA superstar LeBron James is going to be a free agent once the season ends. After all, media-type folks have been talking about the possibility of him jumping to a team like the New York Knicks for the past two years. For those unfamiliar with things such as sports free agency (you mean you're actually concerned with things that really matter in life? Interesting concept...), this just means that he'll be free to sign a new contract with any team he likes.

With Mr. James up for grabs, LeBronimania has already begun to set in. The mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg, has already begun recruiting for his area squads, the Knicks and the New Jersey Nets. Elsewhere, rumors are swirling that James wants to play with coach John Calipari, and that whichever NBA squad hires the coach will land the Association's Most Valuable Player.

The result of all of this is going to be months of "Where is he going?" speculation. If he's seen eating pizza, is it Chicago deep dish or New York-style? Is his iPod playing "Cleveland Rocks" or "Welcome to Miami"? Does he prefer Disneyland or Disney World? No detail will go unexamined in effort to figure out where the game's biggest icon will be playing next season, and every one of those details - no matter how minute - will be reported. For the next few months you will eat and drink LeBron. You will see him when you're sleeping and won't be able to avoid him while you're awake. When you order a Big Mac, you'll be asked if you'd like to predict LeBron's destination with that. The Summer of LeBron won't go away... and free agency doesn't even officially start until July 1. If you don't like it, you better find a martian cave with a large rock to hide under, and don't forget your earplugs.

I'm not saying that LeBron's impending decision should not be considered a major story. After all, he's the best player in the NBA. He's the best player to run up and down the hardwood since another No. 23 retired (the post-sixth championship second retirement, not the the post-"I'm old and look funny in a Wizards uniform" third retirement). Whichever team he signs a contract with will become an immediate title contender. It is big news.

... I'm just not sure I need to read about it in Cat Fancy.*

*Disclaimer: The author does not have a subscription to Cat Fancy, nor is he an avid reader of the aforementioned publication.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

G.I. D'oh

I caught a bit of the recent G.I. Joe motion picture on television tonight. Unfortunately, the film was about as entertaining as looking at a store-packaged action figure of Snake Eyes. I had hoped that Hollywood could make a film on the subject that would prove at least as entertaining as the time spent blowing up such action figures with Black Cats as a kid. Alas, such hopes went unfulfilled.

What makes the movie so poor? It's tough to pin such fallacies one one particular thing, but the fact that we're supposed to believe Marlon Wayans, of White Chicks and Little Man fame*, is some sort of super soldier is a good start.

*"Fame" is an awkward word to use there... Does it have an idiot cousin?

Having struck out with G.I. Joe, I'm now stuck watching the final film of the Indiana Jones series... Unfortunately, does not hold a bullwhip to the rest of the Indy films. As a result, I'm stuck needing something to cleanse my video pallet... This should do the trick:

Chris Farley - French Fries

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Message to all graduates

The Writings' inspirational message to all graduating this weekend:

If modern storytelling has taught us anything, it's that - no matter how awkward you might have been as a kid - if you work really hard you can someday live out your dreams of pulling an obese man in a sled. Good luck.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Law & Oh Dear

I read today that NBC is canceling "Law & Order." It was at this time that I grew very concerned that NBC is shutting down. After all, beyond a quartet of great Thursday evening comedies and "Saturday Night Live", I'm not sure NBC airs any programming other than "Law & Order."

I've since come to understand that it is only the original "Law & Order" that is folding. The rest of your favorites will keep pumping out great new episodes, so be ready for great new programming on shows like:

- Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
- Law & Order: Criminal Intent
- Law & Order: Trial By Jury (what do you mean this was canceled five year ago?)
- Law & Order: Los Angeles (what do you mean this show doesn't start up until the fall?)
- Law & Order: Cincinnati Bengals Locker Room
- Law & Order: Prosecuting Drunken Hillbillies
- Awl & Roerd: Catering to Dyslexics
- Law & Order: You Tore the Tag Off Your Mattress
- Law & Order: Tattletale Division
- Law & Order: Broadcasting Games Without the Expressed Written Consent of Major League Baseball

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Perfect Manager

There are days when the inevitable finally happens. Today was one of those. The Kansas City Royals, standing firm in the cellar of the American League Central, fired manager Trey Hillman. Hillman was in the midst of his third season at the team's helm and had led the squad to a combined 152-207 record during that time. Basically, his teams were about as successful as squirrel doing the Lindy Hop on the interstate.

It can be argued (in undeniably convincing manner) that the Royals have not exactly put together teams with enough talent to be legitimately competitive in the Majors; that the team was doomed to fail no matter who served as manager. Nonetheless, it can also be argued (again with much conviction) that the manager isn't doing much to help his squad move toward success when he allows a shortstop who has proven to be one of the worst hitters in baseball to hit with two runners on toward the end of a tight game instead of going with a slugging first baseman as a pinch-hitter. Some say that you live and you learn... Sadly, Trey never seemed to learn, as illustrated by the fact that he never moved "The Human Windmill" Dave Owen from his spot as third base coach. Owen has caused the death of more runners than self-combustible cleats, yet Hillman never talked him into checking out what the game looked like from the dugout. In more ways than one, it's been a running joke.

Word is that Ned Yost will assume managerial duties for the rest of the season. Including those that have held interim positions, Yost marks the seventh Royals skipper in nine years. Seven new managers in nine years! The Royals pass the leadership buck more often than a lot of people go to the doctor. Is Yost the right guy for the job? Who knows. I thought Hillman might be, and have now seen how that turned out. Again, with the "talent" on the current roster, it's very possible that there may not be a "right guy." Nevertheless, that's not going to keep me from having a little fun with things.

The Perfect Manager
(performed by current members of the Royals family, to be sung to the tune of Mary Poppins' "The Perfect Nanny"... or (much more accurately) The Simpsons' "Minimum Wage Nanny.")

General Manager Dayton Moore:
If you want to be our skipper,
It helps to have connections to Chipper.*

Shortstop Mike Aviles:
It's also good to have a knowledge of sport,
and never play Yuni Betancourt.

Outfielder David DeJesus:
Don't makes us bunt in the first inning,
Convince us that you know the definition of winning.

Former Uber-prospect Alex Gordon:
Don't spend your free time finding names you can nick,
and remember I actually need to play to see if I can hit a lick.

Little-used closer Joakim Soria:
Learn to use the bullpen; pitch me in situations that won't necessarily earn a save;
Once-prospect now bench cheerleader extraordinaire Kila Ka'aihue:
And don't be afraid to bench a veteran in favor of the new wave.

Cy Young Winner Zack Greinke:
Hurry, Skipper, even great pitching rarely earns me a win,
The Human Windmill Dave Owen:
I'll do it...
We'd rather eat a rusted pile of tin.

*Chipper Jones, that is. He's been an Atlanta Brave for 17 years. Dayton came to the Royals from the Braves organization and he's always seemed pretty keen on doing things "the Braves' way" and bringing in former Atlantans. It's worked out well so far... Wait, what?

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

ALL forms of payment?

I saw an ad today that included the line "We accept all forms of payment."

Really? ALL forms of payment?

You're saying that if I walk up to the counter with a handful of Stanley Nickels or a fist-full of Schrute Bucks, we're square?

What about Chuck E. Cheese tokens? Chocolate coins?

There's been talk in the national news lately of bartering for healthcare, so can I pay with a cornish game hen?

It seems the ad in question may need to be adjust if there are others out there like me, and I'm only getting started. Consider the following forms of payment:

- Expired coupons for Jell-O;
- Shiny rocks;
- Piggyback rides;
- Hugs;
- Verbal lashings;
- Strands of Big League Chew;
- Dirty diapers;
- "Rules of blackjack" playing cards;
- Half-eaten M&Ms;
- Video-cassette recordings of The Chevy Chase Show.

Naturally, this list is not all-inclusive. Please comment on your favorite potential forms of payment that are not mentioned above.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Lost, definitely lost

Per the strict guidelines of the Hot Lutefisk act, I must update The Writings this very evening. Unfortunately, my brain is simultaneously trying to comprehend the episode of Lost that just ended and deal with the fact that the Royals are losing 7-1 to an unbelievably mediocre Cleveland team. If you'd like your mind to feel similar, strike your spacebar repeatedly for 45 seconds... with your forehead.

While I have learned even more about smoke monsters and lousy relievers than I knew a few hours ago, I don't really feel that either item would make much of a blog topic right now. After all, as has been recently revealed, one is the embodiment of all that is evil... and the other is a character on a fictional television show. (Insert rimshot here)

After such an evening, any chance at crafting text that comes off as creative, funny, or even worthwhile is, well, lost. (And let's be honest, chances weren't that great to begin with.) Instead, I'll simply leave you with a wise proverb:

Son, if you really want something in this life, you have to work for it.
Now quiet! They're about to announce the lottery numbers.

- Homer Simpson

Monday, May 10, 2010

The Big Math-Is-Tough Conference

Rumors swirled today that the Big Ten Conference (which actually features 11 schools) had finally acted on long-discussed talks of expansion by making offers to join the conference to four new schools. Such a story is big news here in the Midwest because two of the schools rumored to be invited to the Big Ten (because apparently 11 doesn't sound good) are Big 12 members Missouri and Nebraska. Since the reports came out earlier today, representatives from Missouri and Nebraska have been busy denying that any such offers have been made. Thus, the major news of the day is really that nothing happened.

Now, I have no idea how formal offers to join a conference like the Big Ten (plus one) are actually passed around, but for some reason I can't get the image of the Big Ten Conference commissioner Jim Delany passing a note Nebraska Athletic Director Tom Osborne. The note is a quarter-sheet of wide-ruled paper torn hastily from a spiral notebook. On it is scribbled "Do you like me?" with a pair of check-boxes; one next to the word "yes," the other next to the word "no."

Yes, there are a bevy of things that will go in to a school deciding whether they want to change conferences (cough*It'sAllAboutTheMoney*cough), but I've decided that it's a lot more entertaining to equate the entire ordeal to middle school matchmaking. The following quote from Osborne, found on, does little deter my juvenile associations:

"We haven't entered into any formal talks with anybody right now. We're focusing on the Big 12. But I don’t think that
means if somebody wanted to pick up the phone and call us, that we'd
hang up on them. You listen."

Translation follows:

Espen (the inquisitive gossip that can be pretty annoying at times): Hey Herbina, would you ever go out with Big Tim (the guy from up north who is very rich, but really struggles with math)?
Herbina (a corn-fed girl who never should have fired Frank Solich... or something): No, that's a silly question. I'm going out with Bevo (the Midwestern kid who spends way too much time in Texas)... Why, did Big Tim say something about me? Did he?

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Hot Lutefisk

In the life of "The Writings" a running joke* has been creating fake slogans for this very depository of incoherent thought. For example, in the course of a blog describing reasons why one might possibly have optimism about the Kansas City Royals, I could then follow with a slogan like "The Writings: Our grasp on reality is a slippery one, at best." Unfortunately, the best slogan for this blog in recent months has been, "The Writings: Featuring new content as often as reruns of 'Salute Your Shorts.'"

*Editor's note: The term "joke" can be used rather loosely when the author describes his blog... Please humor him.

It's true, my updates to this blog have been arriving about as often as family Christmas letters lately, and some of the content has been about as entertaining as Uncle Seamus' story of visiting the cider mill. This, dear reader(s), is something we at The Writings won't stand for*.

*The Writings: We prefer sitting.

There's not much of an excuse for lack of content; there are certainly topics out there. After all, the Royals are doing their best to make sure Zack Greinke won't be considered as a Cy Young candidate this year. (I'm fairly confident the award winner needs to have at least one victory.) The Chiefs are in the midst of an offseason that could actually make them a relevant team again. Lost, perhaps my favorite television program ever, is nearing it's conclusion. I even recently experienced what some might deem a "life-changing event" by changing jobs, careers, paychecks and lunch habits.

Yes, there's plenty on my mind and I've apparently just been keeping all these thoughts caged up in my head rather than unleashing them on the online world and giving others the chance to say "where the heck did that come from?"

For better or for worse (that's for you to decide), it's time to bring some of my focus back to The Writings and I'm going to do it hot lutefisk. Naturally, you have no idea what the term "hot lutefisk" means. In The Writings lore, it is now the opposite of "cold turkey." When someone drops a bad habit without any sort of transition plan, it's often referred to as quitting cold turkey. I've never understood the phase, so it's only fair that the phrase's antonym makes even less sense. Thus, I'm going to get back to blogging "hot lutefisk."

Today is May 9. In true "hot lutefisk" fashion (which exists as of May 9), I'm going to update The Writings each and every day that I'm physically able to for the next month. No matter what falls on my plate, if I have access to my laptop that day, there is going to be new content added to The Writings. It may not always make sense (nothing new) and it may not always be lengthy (also nothing new), but there will be updates. Be prepared.

Odds are, by June 9 people will be begging me to quit cold turkey.

The Writings: This should be interesting.

Monday, May 03, 2010

10 Lessons learned from a 21-month-old

1. If you're willing to jump from a moving vehicle for anything, it should be for the opportunity to play on a playground.

2. Unfortunately, child car seats are, in fact, child proof.

3. Also unfortunate is the fact that the other folks in the vehicle ignore your calls of "I need out" and "play" as you cruise by the playground.

4. Pugs love hugs... even if they squirm like they don't.

5. Spaghetti is not only delicious, but it also serves as a great clothing accessory, while the sauce serves as some pretty wicked warpaint.

6. Jumping in place is pretty fun, but even more so when you can bait everyone around you into jumping up-and-down, as well.

7. Movies are great... for 10 minutes. Then it's time to go shout at birds to keep out of the house.

8. Oranges lying in your grandparents' garden may be intended for orioles, but they still look delicious enough to repeat "nummy" several times.

9. When you do get the opportunity to finally go down a slide, the preferred method of declination should involve sliding feet first on your belly, which results in your falling over backward upon reaching the base of the slide.

10. Though the force of your slide landing combined with the discombobulation that comes with nearly completing a backward somersault would be enough to make most folks sit still for a breather, the best method of recovery is hopping to your feet immediately and sprinting back to climb to the top of the slide again.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Thought for the Night - May 1, 2010 Edition

I arrived home this evening and turned on my television to find that "How Stella Got Her Groove Back," was airing on E!* Unfortunately, I could not bring myself to watch. You see, I've never seen the prequel "The Epic Tale of How Our Heroine Stella Lost Her Groove."

*Please note that the exclamation point was used solely to properly convey the television channel on which this program aired (again "E!"). I was not THAT excited about a 2-star film with Whoopi Goldberg.