Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Playing ketchup

One of the things that's kind of disheartening about the recent economic bump in the road we're all trying to get through is how cavalier people are about throwing around such astronomically huge numbers.

A billion dollars here, a billion dollars there. Pretty soon, your actually talking about real money.

In fact the government so far has committed $11.6 trillion in financial support to failing businesses (banks, auto companies, insurers, mortgage brokers).

Now, $11.6 trillion doesn't really sound like a lot when you say it like that. I mean, sure it sounds large, but c'mon a 't' is much smaller than an 'm' or a "b" -- right? And besides "trillion" has kind of a pretty sound to it. Kind of like a bird singing.

When you write it out numerically, it has a little more impact: $11,600,000,000,000. Whooo! Look at all those zeros!

But I don't think even writing out all of those zeros gives a really good picture of just how much $11.6 trillion is.

To get a better picture of just how large of a number 11.6 trillion is, I like to convert it into a unit that is a little more familiar to regular working class Joes like me. That's right, I like to think of it in terms of tomatoes.

Your typical household garden variety tomato is about 10 centimeters in diameter. So line up 10 of these sweet, juicy bundles of tastiness, and you're looking at 100 centimeters worth of tomatoes. That's one meter for those of you who are products of the Kansas City Missouri school system.

At 100 tomatoes to the meter, you need 10,000 tomatoes to make a kilometer. This is nice to know, because now you can compare the number of tomatoes in various distances. For example, the distance from my house to the Boulevard Brewing Co. tasting room is about 16.25 kilometers. That's a distance of 165,500 tomatoes.

Of course, 165,500 is infinitesimally small compared to 11.6 trillion. So let's think a little larger. The great state of Kansas is 340 kilometers wide. So line up 3,400,000 (3.4 million) tomatoes side by side and you'll get from KC to Hayes and then some. But it's still only a fraction of the 11.6 trillion.

The United States is about 2,600 miles (from New York to San Francisco). That works out to roughly 4,184 kilometers. So you'll need 41,840,000 tomatoes to get from sea to shining sea. But $41.8 million doesn't even cover the mortgage on Bernie Madoff's second house.

Gotta go larger. Gotta think globally.

So, the circumference of the Earth at the equator is about 40,080 kilometers. Converted to tomatoes, that's 400,800,000. So if you had 401 million tomatoes, you could line them up all the way around the world. That's a pretty big number, but you'll note we haven't even reached a billion yet, let alone a trillion.

Earth to the moon is roughly 363,300 kilometers (at perigee). That works out to 3,633,000,000 tomatoes. So if we line up 3.6 billion tomatoes side by side you'll have a row of veggies stretching to the moon. That's a lot of marinara, but we've still got four decimal places to go before we reach the kind of numbers the bailout architects are talking about.

Going out a little farther, the mean distance from Earth to the Sun is 149,300,000 kilometers -- 1,493,000,000,000 tomatoes. Now we're getting some idea of just how large a number like 11.6 trillion is. Consider this, if you had 11.6 trillion tomatoes, you could line up tomatoes side to side and this resulting line of tomatoes would reach from the Earth to the Sun.

In fact, you would have enough tomatoes to make SEVEN lines of tomatoes from the Earth to the Sun. And you would still have millions of tomatoes left over!

So yeah, 11.6 trillion? That, my friends, is a lot of tomatoes.

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YouTube Tuesday: My Two Fans

With a few exceptions, many of the most creative video ideas these days are showing up online, not on the air (which seems to be too crowded with fake-reality show knockoffs to allow for any truly original ideas).

Anyway I stumbled onto this newish web series the other day which, in the tradition of God Inc. and others, shows that there are still original and fresh ideas out there. Here's what creator Lauren Iungerich writers on the YouTube channel...
In the brutal world of dating and mating, every single woman needs a fan. Kate Maxwell just happens to have two.

My Two Fans is a new web series from creator, director Lauren Iungerich. The show was inspired after Lauren got "facebooked" by a fan of play she wrote called LOVE ON THE LINE for a charity event during the 2007/8 Writer's Guild strike. After meeting and befriending her fan, Jonathon Roessler, Lauren thought about how all average, single people need fans. And thus the idea for the series was born. My Two Fans is a 16 episode partially- improvised series. All 16 episodes were shot in a span of 4 days.
The series is a bit chick-focused, but it's got pretty good production value for a web series and it's way more entertaining than anything Gray's Anatomy has to offer.

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Monday, March 30, 2009

The Big Takeover

The other day I read Matt Taibbi's The Big Takeover at Rolling Stone's website.

It is simultaneously one of the most interesting and most scarifying articles I've read on the current state of the economy.

As complex as all the finances are, the politics aren't hard to follow. By creating an urgent crisis that can only be solved by those fluent in a language too complex for ordinary people to understand, the Wall Street crowd has turned the vast majority of Americans into non-participants in their own political future. There is a reason it used to be a crime in the Confederate states to teach a slave to read: Literacy is power. In the age of the CDS and CDO, most of us are financial illiterates. By making an already too-complex economy even more complex, Wall Street has used the crisis to effect a historic, revolutionary change in our political system — transforming a democracy into a two-tiered state, one with plugged-in financial bureaucrats above and clueless customers below.

If you are feeling too optimistic, too upbeat about the current state of affairs, this article is a good antidote. It's something to read while our society self-destructs.

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Thursday, March 26, 2009


This public service message goes out to Chimpotle, who is known to combine foods in very disturbing ways.


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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Expanding vocabulary

The first year of kindergarten is in its home stretch, and I must say it's been a resounding success.

Our kid has made great progress, both academically and socially. It's all that you could hope for as a parent doing this for the first time. Last night, my kid read a story to me before bedtime.

We've always tried to encourage our daughter to be inquisitive, to ask questions and be interested in learning new things.

That's not to say that there haven't been a few surprises along the way, like the time she wanted to dissect a dead snake, for example.

Another such surprise came a few days ago.

I'd just picked up the kiddo from school. She was in the backseat buckled in to her booster and we were going over the highlights of the day.

Then she came at me with this gem:
kiddo: Dad, there's something I wanted to ask you.

me: Okay. What is it.

kiddo: "Is 'ass' a bad word?"

me: Uhh...

me: Um. Well, yeah. It's kind of a bad word.

kiddo: Oh. Okay.

me: Most of the time it's not a nice thing to say. Your mom would probably get mad is she heard you say it.

kiddo: Okay.

me: you should probably look for ways to say what you want to say without using that word?

kiddo: Okay. I haven't said it. I heard someone at school say it, so I just wanted to know if it was bad.
And... scene.

Just a gentle reminder that the teachers aren't the only people teaching our kids at school.

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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

YouTube Tuesday: Mona Greasa

Every once in a while I like to class up the joint a little with a nod to the fine arts. And I can think of no finer work of art than this homage to the famous Mona Lisa.

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Monday, March 23, 2009

Fed up

It keeps getting more real.

This headline that came across my RSS reader the other day hit home in a couple of ways:
Feds seize two big KC area financial institutions

Federal regulators seized two large Kansas City area financial institutions Friday to protect depositors’ accounts.

U.S. Central Credit Union, a $34 billion institution based in Lenexa, was placed into a federally controlled conservatorship.

Separately, TeamBank was seized and its branches, including five in the Kansas City area, will reopen today as part of Great Southern Bank, which has a branch in Lee’s Summit.
I have a lot of friends who have lost their jobs during this economy. More than I can count on all my fingers and toes (that's more than 24).

But this is the first instance that I know of where the Federal government is taking over area banks. So until this article, most of the upheaval in the banking sector was all happening in New York and Washington, and maybe North Carolina.

But now it's happen in KC. In our neck of the woods. Hell, there's a TeamBank location just down the street from my house. Correction, there WAS a TeamBank location there.

And just to make it a touch more personal, I have a relatively close family member who was a mid-level executive at TeamBank.

I haven't learned yet whether he's keeping his job or not. The article notes that the branches are opening under a new name this week. One would think that it would be difficult to fire everyone and still open all the branches the following week.

So good luck to you out there. Whether you're looking for a new job or your just trying to keep the one you have. Here's hoping this recession ends soon.

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Friday, March 20, 2009

First 60 days

What a relief. I'm glad to see everything going so well for our new president.

Not even 70 days into his first term yet and already he's got such a great handle on the national debt, foreign policy, unemployment, health care, tax policy and the internecine quarreling of congress that he has plenty of free time to do all of the fun stuff that POTUS's get to do.

Things like posting on his blog, updating his Twitter feed, choosing a new pet dog, filling out presidential NCAA Tournament Brackets and, hanging out with his good friends in Hollywood.

I don't know about you, but last night's appearance by Obama on Jay Leno's Tonight Show gave me a renewed faith that Pres.O. has everything under control.

Some may say he's just pandering to populist outrage, appearing with comedians and actors on late night TV to diss AIG for paying a couple hundred million in bonuses.

I say it's better to get this outrage out of the way now before the Obama administration gives AIG another $30 billion in a couple of weeks.

Besides, Pres. O. doesn't really have anything better to do.

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Thursday, March 19, 2009

Top Ten Thursday: Gangster Movies

With the tough economic times getting tougher, and the potential for low-down dirty greed and graft growing, I figure it's a good time to come out with my list of Top Ten Gangster Movies.

After all, they say the economy in New York is so bad that the Mafia had to lay off 50 judges.

Anyway, I'm sure I don't have to explain the category. The name pretty much speaks for itself. But as always this kind of thing is highly subjective. So if you disagree with my final list, say so in the comments. I might actually change the line up if you make me an offer I can't refuse.

Top Ten Favorite Gangster Movies

10) Scarface:
Aside from Al Pacino's ridiculous accent, remains one of the only Oliver Stone movies I really like. Full of irredeemable characters and brutal violence, it's a parable of how drugs and corruption will lead only to the firing of fully automatic machine guns in your Miami mansion.

9) Carlito's Way:
Pacino plays a much more likable character in Carlito Brigante, who is trying desperately to go straight. The opening and closing shots are particularly memorable as Pacino gets another great death scene.

8) Snatch:
The elaborate plot punctuated by quick cut editing made this film a real treat. Guy Ritchie might have questionable taste in women, but he can spin a right good yarn. It's worth watching if for no other reason than to learn this valuable lesson: Never trust an Irish gypsy.
7) Reservoir Dogs:
A tremendous cast delivers great dialog in Tarrantino's freshman effort. The nonlinear story telling packs enough humor to balance the brutal violence, and the dialog makes the characters seem real and even sympathetic at times.

6) The Usual Suspects:
One of my all time favorites films of any genre (despite the presence of Stephen Baldwin). The complex plot was executed (so to speak) so well with great writing, directing and acting that the view is pulled in to the story rather than lost. Again, compelling dialog makes the viewer sympathetic to the characters, and it has probably the best surprise twist endings in cinema history.

5) The Departed:
Another great cast in a film with an excellent story. I appreciate Scorsese going all the way to the end on this movie. Staying true to the title, all of the principal characters reap the ultimate wages of a duplicitous mob life. My only gripe was the overly obvious metaphor at the end as a rat scrambles across the balcony ledge.

4) On The Waterfront:
Probably the original gangster film staring Marlon Brando at his best as a has-been boxer Terry Malloy who decides to stand up to the corrupt, mob-controlled labor union. This has one of the best scenes of Brando's career when, as Malloy, the tells his brother that he "coulda been a contender."

3) Goodfellas:
Another brilliant work by Scorsese with another amazing cast. We watch as Henry Hill (Ray Liotta) climbs the ranks of New York's underworld, only to be done in by the double dealing of friends and his own self-destructive tendencies. One of my favorite scenes was the single shot of Hill introducing the denizens of the Copacabana club.

1) The Godfather & The Godfather: Part II
We've got a two-way tie for first place in the category, and it should be no surprise it's the first two installments of The Godfather Trilogy (it should also be no surprise that the third installment didn't make the list at all). It's the epic story of how Michael Corleone gets pulled in to run the family business and then slowly becomes consumed by it, losing everything he struggles so hard to hold on to in the process. This is the apotheosis of the genre, with strong writing, amazing photography and some of the best actors of the generation with Brando, Pacino, De Niro, Robert Duvall, James Caan, Diane Keaton and others.

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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Awkward Pie: The long walk

When you work in an office like mine, there's plenty of opportunity for awkward situations when you venture outside the three and a half walls of you cube.

Here's one that comes up often. In the building where I work, there's a corridor running long and straight (yeah, yeah, The D. I know. "That's what she said.") between blocks of cubes (or, as I call them, cell blocks).

Anyway, several times a week I'm faced with the situation of seeing a coworker coming down the corridor toward me. Maybe I'm on my way to the break room, or heading to a meeting room or whatever. But I'm walking one way and the coworker, who is probably someone I only marginally like it I even know their name, is walking toward me.

No remember, this is a very long corridor. Maybe fifty yards or even longer. So depending on where we both entered the corridor, we could be walking toward each other for a very long time.

That's where the awkwardness enters the equation. At some point, I like to at lease acknowledge the other person (whom I probably don't like, but I'm a nice guy, see), usually with a fake-friendly wave or a head nod. If they get close enough, I'll offer a polite "Good day, sir."

The problem is, if I wave too soon I've got another 30-seconds or more of walking toward the person. It's an awkward window of time because it's too short to strike up a superficial conversation, but it's too long to just stare at each other as you approach.

Anyway, I've come up with a couple of strategies for dealing with this phenomenon.

If it's in the morning and I'm just arriving, I usually have my computer bag in one hand and a cup of coffee in the other. With my hands thus occupied, I don't have to wave. Then to fill the awkward window, I usually take a drink of coffee, pretend it's too hot and blow the cup to cool it off. Do that a couple of times until my coworker either turns out of the aisle or we pass each other.

But my preferred method is to use my cell phone as a prop. I have one of those so-called smart phones, so when I see someone open the corridor I can pick it up and pretend to be busy checking my email and text messages.

Depending on how long I'll be walking toward the oncoming person, I can also fake-check my voice mail messages. Usually I throw in a frustrated head shake, like someone just left a message with a really unreasonable request that is going waste a lot of my time today, you know, just to be convincing.

Then when I get up even with the oncoming coworker I can give one of those "What're you gonna do?" shoulder shrugs.

What do you guys do in this situation?

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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

I hate to say I told you so...

Not to swagger jack The Hives, but a few recent events have made me realize how much it sucks to be correct sometimes.

Take, for example, this issue of AIG paying out millions ("millions", sound so quaint after bandying about terms like "billions" and "trillions" so much) of dollars in executive bonuses.

True to political form, politicians -- especially Democrats -- are acting all outraged and verklempt that such a thing could actually happen. Never mind the fact that they wrote provisions into their bailout bills that allowed an “exception for contractually obligated bonuses agreed on before Feb. 11, 2009.”

Look, I'm not here to defend AIG. They should be out of business as far as I'm concerned. I'm just saying that when people voted for change, I'm pretty sure they had in mind a climate where companies like AIG weren't being enabled by politicians like Pres. Obama, Sen. Max Baucus and Sen. Christopher Dodd.

And they are enablers. Let's face it, you don't have to be an economist (whatever the hell that is) to know that when you pump a brajillion dollars out of a firehose into the economy with virtually no oversight, you're just creating a breeding ground for backbiters and syndicators.

And you people who thought we were getting change, as I've been saying all along, should have known better. A comment from Sen. Dodd is particularly telling.
We have a right to tax.
-- Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Connecticut
"We have a right to tax." This is the Senator's solution. Put billions of dollars into a failed business (from which, btw, you are the single largest receiver of campaign donations) and then tax that money right back. Lather, rinse, repeat.

I feel like I'm taking crazy pills.

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YouTube Tuesday: The Mother of all Funk Chords

This is about the coolest thing I've seen on YouTube in a long time.

YouTube user Kutiman has been grabbing Internet video and audio, slicing, dicing, mixing and remixing to come up with new original works. He calls his project ThruYou, and it's an amazing example of editing and persistence.

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Monday, March 16, 2009

No man is an island

I first met George about two years ago.

It was a week or two after we moved into our house. I was in the back yard trying to do something about years of overgrowth and neglect by the home's previous owners. George was in his backyard, raking his tidy, well-kept grass.

We met at the chain-link fence and introduced ourselves. George and his wife are the original owners of the house next door to ours. They're retired and split time between Overland Park and their house "down at the Lake" of the Ozarks.

I saw him frequently outside, tending to his yard and house. When we had our siding replaced, he asked for a couple dozen of the cedar shingles we removed. He used them to patch holes wood peckers had made in the cedar siding of his house.

We always took time to greet each other and spend a few minutes talking. He'd ask after our family. He made friends my parents and in-laws.

A guy couldn't ask for a better neighbor.

I became a little concerned when I stopped seeing him so much. The lat time I saw him was in September or so. We were talking about various home repairs when he mentioned, with a smile and a chuckle, that "I just don't seem to be getting around as easily as I used to."

I told him in parting to take it easy and have some red wine, then went on with my mowing or raking or whatever I was doing at the time.

Then October and November passed. December, January and February. I knew he and his wife liked to spend time at their lake house. They were also prone to flying south in the colder months, wintering in a condo in Florida or taking a Caribbean cruise.

Finally, this weekend George was out in the back yard again. I was glad to seem my friend again, but I almost wished I hadn't.

George had lost about 50 pounds since I'd last seem him. He moved slowly and his voice, low and smooth six months ago, had become raspy, like there wasn't enough breath behind it.

George was polite as ever, but he did say it hasn't been a good winter. He was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in October and has been on chemotherapy for six months.

The clothes he wore as a healthy, paunchy 195-pound retiree look like they're going to fall off of the 50-pound lighter version of him.

I awkwardly gave encouragement and inquired as to his prognosis. He said the doctors have told him you never really get rid of pancreatic cancer -- that you can hope for another year or maybe two.

True to his from, he was positive and upbeat. He said he would enjoy each day as much as he could. He is determined not to give anything up.

But even though it is apparent that he is still the same strong and healthy person in many of the ways that really count, I can't help but feel worried and sad for my friend.

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Friday, March 13, 2009

Economic cave in

Okay people, pay attention 'cause here's a news flash: Times are really tough.

I mean the economy is really bad. People are getting laid off every day, profits are plummeting, national debt is skyrocketing. Word on the street is that the economy is so bad that Donald Trump's toupee has been moonlighting as Amy Winehouse's merkin.

So if your like my Supermodel Wife and I, and you're in the market for some baby furniture that will come in handy in about the middle of June, you'd better do what we did and shop around. After hitting up several retail furniture stores, we decided we didn't want to drop two grand on miniature dressers and such. After all, according to the all the headlines, there are some needy bankers who need that money more than we do.

Like the good netizens we are, we checked out Craig's List, which in turn led us to the super secret underground warehouse of Overstock Freight.

Since it's so secret, I can't give you the specific directions here. Email me if you want them. For now, I'll just say that the warehouse is in a series of caves, deep in the hills of northwest Missouri.

We found our way there, passed a guarded gate and into one of a couple dozen cave openings. We spelunked our way to Pillar 36 where we found the warehouse's store front.

Inside the warehouse, one of dozens in this network of secret caves, we found loads of overstock and discontinued merchandise -- dressers, desks, chairs, kitchen wares and appliances, lots of stuff for kids.

The packaging wasn't fancy, and there was some scratch-and-dent stuff, but most of the merchandise was comparable in quality to what you would find at most furniture stores.

Near the back of the cave at the base of one of the pillars, we found a dressing table and armoire set. We examined it thoroughly. It was in like new condition and the set together was less that $500.

We had a small SUV and a long trip home, so the proprietor gave us a $100 discount since we'd be making two trips.

So if your in the market for new furniture (or playground equipment or kitchen utensils, or whatever) and if no one else can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can shop in a cave.

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Wednesday, March 11, 2009


Note to the coffee shop/sandwich bar in my building: If you keep the blueberry muffins in the same refrigerator case as the poached salmon salads, what you get is a blueberry-salmon flavored muffin.

And it's not as tasty as it sounds.

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More change than you hoped for

I'm not sayin' anything, I'm just puttin' this out there.

Actually, I guess it was BusinessWeek that put it out there. So I guess I'm just passin' it along.

I'm still not sayin' anything, though.

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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

YouTube Tuesday: Morning Elegance

This one's been out there for a while, but it's new to me.

I'm captivated by this elaborate stop-motion animation. And even though the music (which is really good, btw) is a bit melancholy, the video gives it that touch of whimsy that makes the production as a whole very satisfying.

Well done, Mr. Lavie.

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Friday, March 06, 2009

Friday Blogthing: Album Cover Meme

I haven't done one of these in a long time, but the results I got from doing the Album Cover meme fit together so nicely that I just had to share.

In case you're unfamiliar, here's how it works (hat tip to Average Jane):
  1. Go to “Wikipedia.” Hit “random” and the first article you get is the name of your band.
  2. Then go to “Random Quotations” and the last four or five words of the very last quote of the page is the title of your first album.
  3. Then, go to Flickr and click on “Explore the Last Seven Days” and the third picture, no matter what it is, will be your album cover.
  4. Use Photoshop or some other image editor to add text and make it look cool.
This is the wikipedia article hit
Here's the quote I got.
And this is the Flickr art I ended up with.

Add them all together and you get the latest Top 40 Skinhead Neo-Nazi Hate Metal album.

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Thursday, March 05, 2009

I guess you gotta do what you gotta do

Looks like Boulevard Brewing Co. started packaging my favorite brew in aluminum bottles today.
The Kansas City-based company produced about 2,700 cases of beer in the aluminum bottles on its initial run Thursday. The brewery will continue to offer its Unfiltered Wheat in glass bottles and barrels, as well.

“If you’re out mowing the lawn, out at the golf course or at the pool where you can’t have glass, you can now drink Boulevard Unfiltered Wheat in an aluminum bottle,” said John McDonald, Boulevard founder and president. “Being only in the glass bottle, we didn’t have access to venues like golf courses and stadiums. So that was a big reason.”
I can totally get the logic of packaging your product (heh) so that it can be sold in more venues.

But there's still a bit of a purist in me that will probably just keep getting the glass bottles. I mean, I know that maybe aluminum is the superior material, but it just doesn't have the right feel.

It's similar to wine. Even though drinking wine out of a bottle may be better, I still feel like it's just a more natural, classier experience to drink it out of a box.

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Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Come on in here, boy. Have a cigar.

One of the great things about this medium is that you develop relationships with people who look out for each other.

For example, the other day my boy Nick over at WNTV had my back in the career department by bird dogging for me the link to apply for a White House Internship.

Now, I know what your thinking. Why would a successful upper lower middle manager like myself be interested in an entry level White House internship?

Well my friends let's face it, the economy's not getting any better. Banks are insolvent, the markets are crashing, unemployment is at it's highest point of the century. At this rate, even my job of Assistant to the Regional Manager may not be secure.

So I clicked with interest on the link Nick provided.

I learned that to be a White House intern, there are a few provisos, a couple of quid pro quo. This is politics after all even if the new rulers say things have changed.

First is that I have to be a U.S. citizen. Luckily, nobody has ever been able to prove that I'm not despite the efforts of a clique of Internet crackpots who swear I was born in Kenya.

I also have to be at least 18 years of age on or before the first day of the internship. Luckily I squeaked in right above that criteria. I don't want to say my actual age, but let's just say I used to carry my Rubik's Cube in the inside pocket of my Members Only jacket.

Next, up is that I have to be a student or grad student. No problemo. I can go back to KU and get my advanced degree in French Fry and McNugget Marketing.

So now all I have to do is decide what internship I want to pursue. I could opt for the Office of Cabinet Affairs, but I'm not really into carpentry.

The Office of Presidential Personnel sounds promising. They're the people who oversee selection of presidential appointments. But it seems like it's really tough to find appointees who haven't cheated on their taxes. Seems like too much work.

Actually, the Office of the Vice President looks like the best option. I mean, the VP doesn't really do anything and I can just tell that Joe Biden is one hell of a partier. And I'm not talking about political parties here.

So I'm off to fill out my application. I know some of you may be see this as a step down in the career department. But the way things are going we'll all be working for the government in a few short months. After they take over the banks, the automakers, the newspapers, insurance companies, real estate agencies, power companies, Internet providers, technology companies... well, anyway it's pretty clear that everyone will have a government job. I might as well get in on the ground floor.

And yes, I know how interns are treated at the White House. But we've all got to pay our dues.

My only question is, do I have to bring my own cigars?

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Monday, March 02, 2009

Evil incarnate

Yesterday, KCMeesha wished us all a Happy International Day of the Cat, to which I say "Hsssssss"

It's long been my considered opinion that cats are the Minions of Evil on this planet. Opinion? Let me correct myself. I'm certain that it is a quantifiable fact.

You see, I have a built in biological evil detector. Whenever I'm around evil I have a physical reaction that includes watery eyes, sneezing, tightness in my chest and difficulty breathing. You might call it an allergic reaction to Evil.

I go through a mild form of this whenever I see Oprah on TV. Also, I had this reaction when I toured the Dachau concentration camp during my first European trip (there were cats there at the time... no surprise). It also happens whenever I read this guy's blog.

So it's pretty clear that my Evil detector has a pretty good track record. And what happens whenever I'm around cats? You guessed it, Evil detector goes off the charts.

But really, you don't need an organic Evil detector to know that cats are evil. Just look at them. I mean, they creep around all creepy like with their weird slitted eyes and sneaky paws and nasty flicking tales. Gives me a case of the screaming heebie jeebies just thinking about it.

And speaking of the heebie jeebies, check out this sterling example of the species:
He might be the ugliest cat in the world. And in Exeter, N.H., he’s become quite the spectacle. “People come in and take pictures of him on their cell phones,” veterinary employee Christie Hartnett told WMUR-TV in Manchester, N.H., which reported on Ugly and his newfound fan base.
Bloody Evil worshipers if you ask me.

I rest my case people.

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Change I can believe in

One thing I hadn't really thought about when we decided to have our second kid was the amount of adjustment it takes.

Don't get me wrong. We knew it was a big decision, and we made the decision with full awareness of it's bigness.

But even when you're expecting change, you still need to adjust. Our guest bedroom, for example, will become our new baby's room. Family and houses guests will have to adjust by sleeping on the pullout couch in the den.

One person who has a lot of adjusting to do is our six-year-old daughter. She's a great kid and she's super excited about having a little sister. But it's also clear that she has questions about how things are going to be postpartum.

The other day we were sitting on the couch talking about it.
6yo: Daddy, when the baby comes, will I be able to hold her?

me: Yes. In fact, you'll be one of the first people to hold her. First will be your mom.

6yo: Then you. Then me. So I'll be the third person.

me: Yes. But you'll have to be careful when holding the baby.

6yo: I know. Their necks aren't very strong. I'll be able to feed her, right?

me: Yeah. We'll all to work together to take care of her.

6yo: I think it's so cute when the food comes out of their mouth a little bit and you have to scoop it back in with the spoon.

me: Yeah. But remember, it's going to be a few months before she can eat baby food. At first, she'll just drink milk from a bottle. You can hold the bottle, though.

6yo: Oh, yeah.

6yo: Daddy, there's something that I've been thinking about.

me: What is it?

6yo: I'm afraid that when the baby comes, you'll want to play with her more than me. It makes me kind of sad.

me: Well, when the baby comes we'll all have to do a lot at first to make sure she stays safe and healthy. But we'll still make time to play with each other. You're more fun to play with than the baby anyway.

6yo: I am? Why.

me: Well, babies don't really do much. They really only do four things.

6yo: What? Eat?

me: Yep. Eat, sleep, poop and cry. That's about all they do. But they sure are cute.

6yo: Yeah. So we'll still get to do fun things together?

me: Sure. You know, your baby sister will probably like playing with you more than she plays with me.
The ironic thing about that last statement, and what I didn't have the heart to explain to her, is that it won't be long before our six year old is an 11-year-old and the very thought of spending any time at all with me will be repugnant and embarrassing to her.

Just part of the growing up process. Gotta gather those rosebuds while we may.

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