My Kid Saw Me Naked

30 12 2007

Isn’t it great when your child is a baby, and you don’t have to hide or close any doors when you take a shower or change clothes? The baby does not care if you have an extra arm, scars, or even whether you are anatomically correct (just for the record, I am). It’s like the Garden of Eden before the apple biting.

I’ve heard that it’s somewhere around age 2-3 that you are supposed to start being more careful around your child in the “nudity” area. I certainly am not one of those that feels the body au naturale is shameful or dirty (unless you’ve taken a mud bath, but that’s a different story). However, trying to be a good parent, I’ve started being conscious of the situation when taking a shower or changing in our walk-in closet.

A few days ago, I was coming out of the shower clad in a towel and making the trek to the walk-in. Down the hallway, I spied our daughter, who is smack dab in the middle of that 2-3 age range, happily playing on the living room floor with books and toys. Surprisingly, she had not found yet another dangerous object that we thought we had placed in an unreachable place. No, she was actually enjoying items appropriate for her age. She seemed not even to notice me. Therefore, I thought I did not need to worry about closing any doors. After grabbing boxers from a drawer, I proceeded into the closet and picked out something to wear (no doubt something stylish, like jeans and a sweatshirt).

As I let the towel drop, ready to don the boxers, I looked up, and there she stood. (If you’ve ever seen the movie, The Ring where the scary girl could transport herself quickly to a new location, well, it was like that). She was looking directly at me. She was looking DIRECTLY at me (we’re not talking eye contact here; we’re talking her eye level, my midsection level – staring with a sort of contemplative look on her face.) Did I quickly pull on the boxers? Did I turn around to give her a somewhat less offensive view? Did I push the door shut? No, I turned into a deer on a midnight, two-lane highway with an SUV speeding toward it and froze in terror.

The ball (no pun intended) was absolutely in her court now, as it usually seems to be. I could see her thinking. At this point, it’s important for you to know that she likes to watch the Disney t.v. show, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. This is important because they end the show with a silly song that repeatedly uses the words “hot dog.” While my daughter continued to stare at my most private part, she happily burst out into song, singing “hot dog, hot dog” repeatedly. The only thing that would have made it funnier, more embarrassing, worse would have been if she had actually pointed right at me. This, she did not do. At some point, which seemed like a LONG minute to me, she walked back toward the living room, and I was left to finally put on my clothes.

Obviously, I do NOT think she is scarred for life or anything like that. However, I wonder if maybe I am. If that song pops into my head at inopportune times in the future, I’m doomed. I’m going to do my best to keep the hot dog, buns, and beans covered around her in the future.

(Yeah, I went with a humongous large hot dog pic.)





Spoilers! Don’t Read if You Believe in Anything

28 12 2007

Over the Christmas holiday, the whole discussion about when one stopped believing in Santa Claus came up. It’s interesting that there is this big concept out there that one particular segment of society (kids) believes in, while most others do not. I decided to spend some time thinking about other beliefs that one portion of our society deems the truth, while others would scoff. (I’m staying away from the God’s existence debate in this blog, but you can count me as a believer on that one). Cher once asked in song, “Do you believe in life after love?” The Lovin’ Spoonful musically asked, “Do you believe in magic in a young girl’s heart?’ I simply ask, “What do you believe?” Let’s delve into the human mind, shall we?

Aliens Visiting Earth: There is a good-sized chunk of people out there who believe in the visitors-from-another-world-probing-people’s-butts thing. They subscribe to magazines with names like “Abduction Tales” (or is it Tails because of the probing?). They chat with others online about what is really going on in Area 51 and also in an empty wooded lot behind the super Wal-Mart near their home. These people did really well on science projects in school and always came up with something more in-depth than that dumb baking soda volcano that those of us who would have rather been pummeling someone in dodge ball resorted to. (p.s. These alien abduction people always sucked at dodge ball. They were the ones who just stood in a corner and didn’t even try to catch the ball that was careening toward their noggin.)
My Take: Hey, I like Coast to Coast with George Noory when I’m having insomnia as much as the next person, but I do not believe there is any being smart enough to travel the galaxy but dumb enough to think the best way to study us is to put something they ultimately want to keep in our rectums (or is it recti?).
When to invite these people to your party: When you might be playing Trivial Pursuit and you need someone who can answer science fiction questions.

Ghosts & Demons Among Us: These people study parapsychology in college, and, except for a few who actually find gainful employment in that field, end up working in a bookstore or library part time. They pore over photographs looking for weird white orbs in the background and listen to audio tapes recorded overnight in cemeteries hoping to catch whispered phrases such as, “I need a snorkel,” apparently uttered by someone who drowned 15 years ago. They constantly warn us of the evils of the Ouija board while secretly holding their own séances and asking if their great aunt Edna is in a happy place. They don’t date much but are prone to being attacked in their own bed by an “entity.” They have The Exorcist memorized and have probably watched Linda Blair spew the green soupy stuff in slow motion.
My Take: I certainly believe in an afterlife, but I can only keep my sanity if I refuse to believe that any spirits are wasting their afterlife time whispering into a tape recorder that someone stuck by a grave and then ran and hid behind a tree. If I’m ever a spirit in that situation, though, I plan to mess with the parapsychologists by saying things like, “It was Mr. Green with a machete in the laundry room.” (Despite my pessimism, I plan to stay away from Ouija boards just to be on the safe side.)
When to invite these people to your party: When it’s a Halloween party and you want someone to talk about “Shadow People” who are out to get you. As an aside, Shadow People would have a very unfair advantage in dodge ball.

I Deserve to Have it All Work Out. This one’s a little different. These are the people who believe that the stars will align for them one day, and, without having to do any planning or making any real sacrifices, they will find their soul mate, their perfect job, and will have the perfect house and car. These people usually drop out of college the first year. They are pretty sure they’ll win a car from Drew Carey on The Price Is Right (despite the fact that they are not actively trying to get on the show), and it will only be a matter of time before some publisher reads their blogs and begs them to turn them into a best-selling book. They know their soul mate is out there, and they are not the least bit alarmed that their past ten relationships have fallen apart within six months. Also, their retirement plans usually consist of winning the Power Ball lottery. Today’s politically correct atmosphere has really killed any gumption these people might have had at one point. They’ve had it pounded into their brain that everyone is extremely special and that everyone who plays a game is a “winner.” P.S. These people are very against dodge ball, as it is very difficult for this game to end in a tie.
My Take: It’s not going to “just happen” for you. Get a plan, and do the work.
When to invite these people to your party: Never.

The Government is Conducting Secret Projects to Screw with Me. These people have twelve months’ worth of water, canned sardines and ammunition hidden underground. They believe the government has been involved in conspiracies in the following areas: JFK assassination, 911, airplane exhaust comtrails (the white lines left in the sky), pink Teletubbies promoting homosexuality, cell phones causing brain damage, subliminal messages in pop songs and cartoons, battery packages being impossible to open, potato chip bags being only 1/3 full when you open them (due to that conspiracy known as “settling”), El Nino weather patterns, the New England Patriots’ winning streak, and dodge ball being banned in many schools.
My Take: I really don’t think the government is capable of many conspiracies more complicated than keeping that affair last summer with a 19-year-old Senate Page a secret.
When to invite these people to your party: When you’re almost out of sardines.

The Chicago Cubs Will Win the World Series in the Next Decade. I don’t know what else to say about these people other than, wow. When they chose to become a fan of the Cubs, they chose a lifetime of heartbreak. Resting your hopes and dreams on the psyche of Carlos “No Cy Young Awards Yet” Zambrano is a dicey proposition.
My Take: Long live the curse of the goat! (If the Cubs do win it soon, I may start to also believe in aliens, ghosts, etc.)
When to invite these people to your party: When you need someone to bring Chicago-style pizza to your place.





What if Your Church Was Like High School?

25 12 2007

Remember getting your high school yearbook? We received our church directory recently, and, while it was fun to thumb through, it did not have the same impact as the day yearbooks got passed out senior year. Now that we have the church directory, what do we do with it? I think it would be interesting to handle it in a similar fashion as a yearbook.

We could go around before and after church, asking others to sign it. Now that I think of it, I just don’t know if it would be the same. What would people write? “I’m so glad we’ve gotten to know each other. Stay Sweet! Stay Christian!” How about, “You always make me laugh during sermons! Man, that preacher is boooooring sometimes. Good luck in the afterlife. LYLAB” I don’t think us guys would get the kind of comments from fellow churchgoers that we used to get from male high school buddies. I just can’t see someone at church writing, “You’re OK except for being such a douche. Your friend, (insert name here),” or the ever popular, “Hey nutbag, how about I beat your face in? Sincerely, (name).”

Also, would there be the same pressure in getting certain signatures at church? In high school (at least for guys), there was a sort of unwritten competition regarding whom you could get to sign your yearbook. We all tried to get the really pretty girls, of course. It was sort of like you got 2 points for every cheerleader…3 points for a homecoming queen…4 points for signage from any girl who had “blossomed” early in the chest department, etc. Bonus points if they signed it “Love, (name)” or drew a heart, especially if done in pink or red or purple ink. Bonus points if it said, “I really want to get to know you better.” On the other hand, you would lose points if they wrote anything remotely like, “Thanks for writing that history paper for me” or worse yet, “You didn’t go to this school all four years, did you?” (especially if you had).

I’m thinking the bonus points in the church directory would come from signatures from the attractive, well-off, BMW-driving couples who go on ski weekends. Bonus points if they write, “We should get together some time.” Points would be lost if they simply signed their names, and illegibly at that. I wonder if a church directory filled with signatures, witty comments, social invitations, and even pink hearts could possibly do some good if, on judgment day, one was considered “borderline.” Is it feasible that St. Peter could browse the directory and be swayed by something like, “Matt, you seem like a really nice guy. It’s been great having you at our church. LYLAS” (meaning: Love Ya Like a Saint)? Could this make up for a certain number of episodes of having lust in one’s heart, for example? It’s all so confusing, but not nearly as confusing as being in high school. That could be punishment enough in the afterlife…sentenced to eternity in HHS (Hell High School) repeatedly taking classes like “Advanced Impossible Calculus” with a guy named Mr. Brimstoner. Plus, I don’t even want to think about the cafeteria food at HHS. I’m guessing everything would be overcooked.





The Life and Death of My Father, a WWII Veteran and a Great Dad

24 12 2007

There are relatively few of the noble people who fought the Nazis left in this world. This past year, my father died, and he was one of them. I am lucky that I have never been in the position to make the sacrifices he and so many others made. This is my first Christmas with no parents here on earth (my mother died a few years ago). I miss them both. I decided to post something I wrote the night before my father died along with a wedding picture of my parents.

August 30, 2007

A Man, My Father

As I contemplate the impending passing of my dad, many thoughts pass through my mind. He was a man who loved God, loved his wife, loved his children, and loved golf (not necessarily in that order).

Born on May 13, 1924, many of Dad’s formative years were spent during the great depression. Consequently, he was a man wise with money and willing to find many ways to make an income. He caddied, worked as a delivery man, owned restaurants with my mother, and eventually retired from Prudential, where he worked the insurance game.

He was also known to occasionally take money from the poor saps who made wagers against him on the golf course. Dad was not averse to following the ponies or checking on an over/under on a college basketball game. I took special pride in being the only 2nd grader at my elementary school who had a working knowledge of point spreads, pools, and daily doubles.

Despite this vice, as some would call it, my dad was a consummately moral man. He was serious about teaching right and wrong to his children, and he passed on the importance of being a good, God-fearing person. My rear end was going to be in church every Sunday; that was NOT something that was up for debate.

I admired my Dad more than he ever knew for his religious conviction. I remember when I was a child, and he could no longer kneel in church due to the growing severity of his arthritis. I always worried that people in the surrounding pews would mistakenly think Dad was just being lazy or lacked devotion. Now I am sure no one at that church ever thought that about him.

Dad was blessed with a keen wit. I will never forget, many years ago when Dad answered what was obviously a call from a telemarketer. The caller was trying to convince Dad that a “special deal” could be had if Dad could correctly answer a trivia question. The caller then asked Dad if he could name the “Bluegrass State.” Dad quickly answered “Utah.” After the surprised telemarketer hemmed and hawed a bit, he asked Dad if Dad wanted another guess. Dad dryly stated, “No, that wouldn’t be fair” and hung up.

One of the most incredible parts of Dad’s life was his service to the country he loved whole-heartedly during World War II. Dad saw friends demolished by bombs and even experienced a shell land in his foxhole. Luckily for us all, it was a dud. Dad was held prisoner of war by the Nazis and survived interrogation from a German commandant despite not telling him what he wanted to know. Tom Brokaw said of the men and women from this time, “It is, I believe, the greatest generation any society has ever produced.” I concede that I am a little biased, but I would tend to agree.

Nearly forgotten memories are returning to me like a flash flood: Dad working in his garden – Dad poring over a racing form at the local horse race track – Dad making his famous chili – Dad watching MASH or Barney Miller on TV and laughing that contagious laugh of his – Dad making the day of his grandchildren as they raced around the house while Dad called out the race-horse nicknames he had given each one of them (“Little Scratch” was one) – Dad giving me heck about the brown spot in the back yard where my wiffleball home plate and batter’s box were located – Dad requesting my assistance with resetting the clock on the VCR (I felt important back then as I was the only thing standing between my parents and a migraine-inducing digital clock blinking 12:00 for infinity).

Easily the most lasting memory I will have of this man will be a simple, yet magical one. He was a true father, and nothing was ever going to change that. He will be missed greatly, but I know that he has a nearing tee time on the most beautiful golf course he has ever seen, and he will be playing pain free for the first time in decades. Enjoy it, Dad.





2008 New Year’s Survey: Avoid Ex-Girlfriends and Broken Cell Phones

22 12 2007

It’s time for an original New Year’s survey for 2008 that My wife and I had fun creating. (Feel free to use if you so desire). Happy New Year!

1. How many times will you break and/or lose your cell phone in 2008? Between my work and personal cell, I’m going to say 1 time. I’m TRYING to be careful with them.

2. If for one year (2008) you could choose to be any age, what age would you be and why? I’ll go with 23. Old enough to have some knowledge gained, but young enough to still have some “stupid” fun as well. (p.s. I still want my wife with me even though I hadn’t met her yet.)

3. In past years, what New Year’s resolution did you break the fastest? Probably trying to quit drinking soft drinks. I used to be the king of Mountain Dew (and Ski, a local drink). Now it’s caffeine free, Diet Mt. Dew.

4. Who do you NOT want to see in 2008? A couple of particular ex-girlfriends. Probably wouldn’t be pleasant. I’d rather not see any “news” about Rosie O’Donnell, either.

5. On New Year’s Eve, do you:

a) Fall asleep at 9:00 p.m. (like you do any other night.)

b) Barely make it to midnight with your significant other/family.

c) Hit the town like a party animal until at least 1:00 a.m.

I’m a b. sort of guy the past few years. I look forward to banging some pots and pans at midnight with my daughter when she’s old enough (a few years to go).

6. What word or phrase will you hear your significant other or best friend say most often in 2008? My Wife: It’s going to be great to have another baby!”

7. What 2008 movie or book are you most looking forward to? Well, it’s definitely NOT the new Rambo. However, I’ll go with Harrison Ford in the new Indiana Jones movie. Haven’t heard a bunch about it yet, but I’m optimistic at this point. I’m also a big Agent Pendergast fan in the Douglas Preston/Lincoln Child books, but I do not know of one to be published in ’08.

8. Are you more likely to get fired from a job or get a big promotion in 2008? Big promotion. (Unless I get fired for focusing too much on my blogs! Just kidding, this is strictly a night/weekend thing for me)

9. What new thing would you mix with chocolate in 2008? A kiss from my wife after she’s just had hot cocoa.

10. What celebrity headline do you foresee in 2008? I predict Anne Heche will be romantically linked in tabloids to both Hillary Clinton and Mitt Romney within a one-week period (just before the season finale of Men in Trees). Like Brangelina, I can already see magazines nicknaming the couples Cliche and Miche.

11. How many people will you romantically kiss in 2008? The perfect number: 1





New Product in 2008 Will Stop the Stench

19 12 2007

2008 is upon us, and one thing is certain: A bunch of new stuff will be produced and placed tantalizingly in front of our advertising-saturated eyes. What cutting-edge items will we all be talking about?

-Have you tried that?

-Is it as good as they say?

-I heard they are made in China.

-I bet the price comes down after it’s out awhile.

Being an amateur prognosticator, I’ll take a stab at what we’ll be shopping for soon.

1. There will be a new OTC pill you can take that will take the stench out of bodily gaseous emissions. In fact, it will give these human emanations a pleasing aroma. It will be called “Pooty-licious” and will come in several scents, including raspberry, supersonic seaweed, carnival fried pickle, and chocolate milk. (Kudos to the marketer who convinces Beyonce – or, in a pinch, one of the other Destiny’s Child members – to be the spokesperson). The side effects for this product will be relatively “mild” and will include: Migraine headaches, back pain, discoloration of urine, voice changes, and sleeplessness. Food for thought: Would teenage boys take this product if available? Taking the horrific scent out of their “rips” would rob them of 50% of their daily entertainment (the other 50% involves nudity on the internet).

2. A new publication will help men survive the maze of digital cable and satellite television stations. It will provide much needed information to the dumber weaker sex and will be called T.V. GUIDO. Excerpt from February 14, 2008: Throw your wife a bone and agree to watch that Lifetime movie tonight about one woman’s triumphs over binge eating, prostitution, a break-up with her married boss, restless legs syndrome, dyslexia, and the sudden death of her twin sister in a horrible zoo accident involving a jaguar (sorry, not the car). Saving grace: A few decent cleavage shots of Kelly Preston (you’ll remember her from the movie, “Secret Admirer”…yeah, that one).

3. Anyone else upset that magnets won’t work on your jet setter stainless steel refrigerator? Rejoice! 2008 brings “Steel Sticks” to your favorite online retailer. For just 14.99 (plus shipping), you’ll get three (yes three!) of these nifty gadgets that stick just like a magnet to steel. Without them, you’d have to use tape, and that’s just so tacky (pun intended). Now you’ll have that grocery list, proctologist appointment reminder card, and your kid’s awful scribbles back where they belong…where everyone can see them.

4. Now this is something any God-fearing parent of a baby/toddler really needs. They’re called “Bodily Func-ometers” and are practically life savers. They are cute little stickers that you place by your baby’s belly button when you are changing a diaper, lifting your child after a bath, or any other time you are susceptible to a sudden spray of bodily wastes. The sticker will give you 5 seconds’ warning by turning either yellow, brown or green whenever your child is going to pee, poop, or throw up. This gives you just enough time to grab that diaper, blanket, towel, spouse’s favorite shirt, etc to serve as an all-important shield between you and the vile substances.

5. I know you’ll want this one. It’s an all-in-one program called “Blog-O-Matic” and will work wonders. Among other things, this little puppy will give you blog ideas daily (“Master, how about a blog involving snack cakes, astrology and seafood….you could call it, Twinkie, Twinkie, little star, how I flounder what you are.”) But wait, that’s not all. It will also repeatedly beg others to link to your page and will also visit your page numerous times when you’re not looking, thereby making you feel better about your number of hits and cutting your suicidal ideation nearly in half. Oh, and it leaves anonymous comments on your blogs involving words like, brilliant, fantastic, and genius. Now what would you pay?!





Heathen Toddler Saved!

15 12 2007

This past Sunday morning, it did not take our toddler long to figure out that we were on our weekly (well, nearly weekly) drive to church. Apparently this was not her idea of a good time on this particular day, as she started yelling, “NO CHURCH! NO JESUS!” We were somewhat concerned that this two-year-old might be in need of an exorcism. (Actually, aren’t all two-year-olds in need of that? But that’s another story). Undeterred, we dropped her off in the preschool room at the church, and we heard possibly blasphemous screams and cries as we walked toward the service. However, she was quite a different child when we picked her up after church. She was all smiles and quickly said, “It’s Jesus day, Daddy!” It was a true miracle. Sure, the miracle may have been the yummy treats they gave her or the fun activity they did involving paste, but we’ll call it a “miracle” all the same. No need to put an ad in the paper for an “experienced exorcist” just yet.





Christmas Songs You Do NOT Want to Hear

13 12 2007

Awful, worse, and dreadful are the best adjectives for the Christmas songs on this blog.

Preface: My wife recently posted a cool blog listing her 40 favorite versions of Christmas Songs (see the link on my sidebar). That got the wheels of my strange brain rolling. What are the worst yuletide songs ever? There are three Christmas songs that will absolutely NOT put you in the appropriate holiday spirit. They are:

1. “Christmas Constipation (Aunt Harriet’s Cheese Ball)” Think, “Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer” with abdominal cramps added. I think this song may have been sponsored by the NAOPG (National Association of Prune Growers) in the 1950s. My advice…stay far away from this recording. You want your Christmas music to be moving, not unmoving. While you’re at it, you might want to avoid cheese balls as well.

2. “Pissy the Yellow Snowman” Sure, it’s important to let your kids know what snow is edible and what snow is not. However, can’t we do this without involving the holidays? If I HAD to listen to this song, it seems like the most appropriate person to sing it would be R. Kelly.

3. “Parade of the Wooden Toy Politicians” This one seems to pop up every four years or so. If you’re lucky, you can just hibernate until the next election is over. If not, get some ear plugs. One good thing about this song was the clever way they rhymed filibuster with stocking stuffer.

Merry Christmas, and I wish good music upon you.





December 13, 1977: A Night that Will Never Be Forgotten in Evansville, Indiana

12 12 2007

It’s just before 3:00 p.m. on November 24, 2007 in Evansville, Indiana, a good-sized town on the Ohio River. About 200 miles to the northeast, Pieter Van Tongeren walks off the basketball court at Ball State University’s Worthen Arena. The six foot eleven inch University of Evansville freshman has hit the game-winning shot in the final seconds to give Marty Simmons his first win as a division I head coach. The hard-fought victory for the Purple Aces has come on the road, and many back in Evansville switch off their radios to proceed with their Saturday afternoon, comfortable in the knowledge that this promises to be the first of many wins for the coach, himself a star player for Evansville in the 80s, himself a hero in the waning moments of past games.

The team’s record stands at 1-3, and Simmons has urged the fans and media to have patience as his mostly young team learns his system and his style of tough, aggressive defense. Christmas, the coach says, is when the real potential of this team may start to shine through.

Flashback thirty years: An even younger first year head coach and his raw, fledgling University of Evansville basketball team stand with the same record: 1-3. The program, with its long history of championship success at the “small college” level has made the leap to its first year of division I competition. The town is enthused by the infectious charisma and confidence of the new coach, Bobby Watson, who covered the entire area prior to the season, giving speeches and generating excitement about his new ball club. Watson, like Simmons three decades later, has cautioned that it will take awhile before his team really starts to gel…maybe around Christmas.

On December 13, 1977, the players are anxious to start gelling a week or two before the coach’s preseason prediction. At the airport in Evansville, the team, including their optimistic thirty-four year old leader, Watson, boards a plane on a damp, cold, fog-filled evening and hopes for a tough road victory against Middle Tennessee State. They’ve discussed the opposition and practiced their game plan. This is the type of moment they dreamt of growing up on elementary school playgrounds and in high school gyms throughout the area, and they want to show the town they belong at this level. They want to play well. They want to play smart. They want victory.

The team won’t get that victory, though. In fact, they won’t make it to Tennessee at all. They won’t make it more than a short distance from the airport. In one of the greatest sports tragedies in history, none of them will make it out of the night alive.

At 7:21 p.m., the plane carrying 29 souls crashes about 90 seconds after takeoff. Most of the people are ejected from their seats into a muddy, difficult to access area just outside of a subdivision and perish immediately. A small number of passengers survive the initial crash but live only a short time before being pronounced dead at a hospital. The families, friends, university and town are in shock.

Later newspaper accounts will note the poor weather conditions, possible sudden wind gusts, improper weight balance on the plane, and maybe even errors by the crew as possible factors in the crash. Regardless of the exact cause, a university of around 2,000 students is shaken to its core. A town of 100,000 or so joins in the grief.

In the following years, the team was rebuilt and achieved notable success in the 80s and early 90s. Players like Brad Leaf, Theren Bullock, Scott Haffner (who once scored 65 points in a game for UE, sixth all time for a single game in NCAA division I history), Dan Godfread, Andy Elkins, Reed Jackson, Marcus Wilson, and the aforementioned Simmons brought wins and glory to the program. Head Coach Jim Crews received national attention as the team piled up wins in front of home crowds that regularly reached 9,000 and 10,000 in Roberts Stadium. The team advanced to play in the NCAA tournament a few times, despite being one of the smallest universities in division I sports.

However, the wins and game attendees became fewer by the mid 90s and the program has had difficulty putting together the kind of seasons the town of Evansville has come to expect.

Enter Coach Simmons.

The town has adopted a guarded optimism about the program again. Coach Simmons demonstrates a passion for the job, and a persistent desire to return the program to its winning ways. Interestingly, Simmons was recently named as one of “100 Legends” of Illinois high school basketball, as was Mike Duff, a young man who had immense potential, and who died in the UE plane crash thirty years ago.

No one who lived in Evansville in 1977 will ever forget the events of that terrible night, a low point for the university. In 2007, however, there is hope for new, better memories for UE, as a new basketball era begins. It goes without saying that no wins on the court can make up for lives lost, but somehow it seems to help the town’s psyche just a little bit when their beloved Purple Aces can bring home a win.

The 1977 team is pictured below with head coach Bobby Watson (middle of first row).





I’m Sick of these People.

9 12 2007

I’m generally an optimistic, humanity-loving person. Sometimes, though, I get in a mood like I’m in right now. When this happens, there is only one remedy: Blog it.

I am sick of a few people. In no particular order, here they are:

1. The Obvious, Unoriginal Line-Using Dude. Situation: You are at a party or meeting and you’ve just been introduced to many people you do not know. You’ve been given a long string of names of the people in your vicinity (Pat, Charlotte, Steve, Marissa, Ted, Wolfgang, Sharquan, Leo, etc). Someone, usually the most annoying man at the gathering, says, “That’s a lot of names to remember. There’s going to be a quiz later!” If it’s not bad enough that you’ve been subjected to one of the most overused lines in human history, don’t worry because you also get to experience two more unpleasant things simultaneously: The guy’s super annoying laughter, and an uneasy feeling that you have to force out a laugh to appease the dude.

2. The Slutty Teenage Girl on Myspace. Apparently somewhere around 1999, it became necessary that 90% of females aged 15 to 19 do three things on their myspace (or similar) page: Post at least one picture of themselves lying on a bed, post at least one picture of themselves making out or acting like they are making out with a female friend, and post at least one picture of themselves with a beer bottle, wine cooler or margarita. These girls are desperately trying to look like adults and are failing miserably. They are, however, succeeding at getting friend requests from teenage boys with profile names like “The Pleaser” and “Love Dat Booty.”

3. The “Highlight-My-Fat-As-Much-As-Possible” Dresser. Also somewhere around 1999 (maybe that was just a bad year), something was added to the water that made a good number of 20-something women lose any sense of style. I’m including reasonably attractive women who maybe just have a “problem area” so to speak. They woke up one morning, and (after having a big glass of the aforementioned H2O) suddenly said to themselves, “Hey, I really need to start wearing stuff that shows off my fattest areas.” They proceeded to follow the following formulas: If I’m a little heavy in the behind and/or thighs, I’m going to wear skin tight pants and shorts, preferably made of something stretchy. If I have a bit of a fat roll around the waist, I’m going to wear low-riders and cropped tops. I want to point out that I consider myself far from a prude and a definite connoisseur of the beauty that is woman. However, some of them are in desperate need of a couple of episodes of “What Not to Wear” on TLC (guys, don’t make fun of me; my wife makes me watch it). I want to add that I am not trying to pick only on women here. If I see a fat guy wearing super tight jeans and a 3/4 length shirt, I’ll immediately be sick of him as well).

4. The Marketers Who Think We Are All Stupid. My personal favorites in this category are the people who came up with the term “fun size” for Halloween-sized candy bars. I guess they thought “super tiny” or “you’ll-want-to-eat-at-least-4-of-these-at-a-time-size” would not go over as well. Next are the marketers who came up with ways to try to make food products seem healthier than they are. For example, they started adding phrases on sugary, kids’ cereal boxes like, “Made with Grains!” or “A significant source of little-known vitamins, such as vitamin M3!” They never say, “As much sugar as a whole chocolate cake!” or “You’ll feel really sick if you eat more than two bowls in a 30-minute span!” My wife’s favorite is when food packages for products like pretzels or raisins say, “No Cholesterol!” on them. These are on foods that have no business having cholesterol in them and that no one ever suspected would have cholesterol in them. It’s like taking a package of condoms and writing, “No Sulphuric Acid!” on it. (How many guys would buy that brand in fear that the other brands did possibly contain acid?)

5. The “Look-I’m-On-TV!” People. Also somewhere around 1999, it became obligatory that every baseball game on tv must have one guy sitting behind home plate talking on his cell phone. This guy is talking to a buddy who is back home watching the game on tv and telling the guy whenever he appears on the screen. Every time a pitch is about to be thrown, the guy stands and waves toward the camera with his cell phone free hand, usually with a really dorky look on his face. He might even jump up and down a couple of times to ensure that his friend (and the hundreds of thousands of other people who just want to watch the freaking game) see him repeatedly. The 7-second delay the networks use only makes it worse. You get the joy of actually anticipating the guy’s next move. Ushers, please start removing these people from the stadium.

6. The Over-Punctuation-in-Blogs-People. These people are awful. They write a blog about people that annoy them, and they use the following: At least 7 colons. These people…wait a minute…oops.








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