Friday, December 18, 2009

twelve joys of christmas

so, christmas is pretty rad. here's 12 reasons (in honor of 'the 12 days of christmas' - whatever that means):

1. presents.

presents are awesome. i know that i shouldn't lead the list of the best things about christmas with presents, but screw it, i really like presents. i like to receive and give. the most memorable present i ever received was a red rider bb gun from my parents. i cried because i was expecting a sweet GIJOE toy. it was a strange time of growing up and embracing the shooting of real guns, rather than just the toy ones that i had imagined to fire for so long.

2. food.

christmas, like every other holidy, is an excuse to eat. i've already gained a few pounds and i'm just warming up. christmas features office parties, candies and cookies, roast duck and egg nogg. these are a few of my favorite things.

3. bars.

nothing beats going to a bar around christmas and running into a bunch of people you haven't seen for a long time. in my hometown, it's a place called 'the palace' that everybody congregates at. i sweat nervously the entire night hoping that i won't run into... well i don't know who i am trying to avoid, but if i see him/her this year, i will freak out.

4. shopping

not really, i hate shopping. it's the worst. next year i am going to hire somebody to go and stand in line and purchase the things i pick out. this person will be my own personal elf.

5. snow.

it never snows. and when it does snow, i complain about it being cold and taking me longer to get where i am going. that being said, there should be snow at christmas. i blame bing crosby for this prevailing notion.

6. christmas music.

i used to loathe all christmas music until i married a christmas music fanatic. i could do without paul mccartney's "wonderful christmas time" still, but other than that, i'm starting to come around.

7. the new year

every year i talk myself into talking about how much i don't care about new years eve and all the hoopla that comes along with it. in reality, i like hoopla and i like making a big-to-do about stuff that doesn't really matter. i like going out and celebrating calendars. i like making resolutions that i invariably will not keep. most of all, i like celbrating the "eve" of a holiday more than the holiday itself. great move, america (and the rest of the world (except china), i guess).

8. traditions.

my family has ice cream sundaes ever christmas eve. on christmas morning, we open our stockings, and then open gifts one at a time and say things like "ooh" and "ahh" when a family member opens a flannel shirt or wall sconce. my dad then cooks a huge-ass breakfast and i eat half of my weight in sausage and biscuits. traditions rule.

9. parties.

these days, if you throw a party around december 25, it apparently has to be a "tacky sweater" party. this is unnecessary, but i continue to appreciate the increase in parties thrown during the last month of the year. one year, i went to a christmas party as will ferrell as robert goulet. i didn't break character all night and it was the best. i even sang "favorite things" and said things like, "i bet you would look good washing my dishes."

10. decorations.

decorating the tree with heidi was sweet this year. appetizers and cocktails while throwing some ornaments on a tree. 1 in 5 of those ornaments will be eaten by our dog. i'm a sucker for houses with lots of lights on. i check out the christmas tree in every house i enter. i still think that people should put real lighted candles on their trees.

11. christmas cookies

i know i mentioned food earlier, but cookies deserve their own section. my mom used to make about 400 varieties of cookies every year and it was open season as far as how many sweets i could consume in a given day. these days, my wife makes about 4,000 cookies-a-week and it continues to be open season. cookies are better around christmas time because it's cold, it's the holidays, and it just feels right. that makes sense, right?

12. jesus.

if you remember, this holiday all got started as a celebration of bis birth. every time i read the account of his birth, i am blown away by something. i will never be able to grasp the significance and overwhelming nature of the whole thing, but that produces awe and wonder, and i'm content with that.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

2009: the year of...

with the annual tradition of "best of" lists popping up all over the place, it's time to become reflective and contemplative about the year that was and the year that is to come (note to readers, if i catch any of you referring to 2010 as '010, i swear that i will kick you in the throat with jean claude van dame-force. 2010 can be referred to as either "twenty ten," "two thousand ten" or "ten." that's it. not any of this"o-ten" crap. i've been hearing it lately, and it has to stop)

the latest events engulfing the golf community and beyond (get it: engulf and golf... they sound the same), have drawn focus yet again to the age-old tradition of gossip, slander, and salacious accusations. let the games begin!

i know it's been said by others with more grand platforms than my own, but this year has seen some real "doozies" when it comes to lies and cover ups. in fact, as i researched the subject (sitting on the couch and thinking real hard), i came up with a top ten list of lies in the year 2009.

here, in no particular order, are the top ten lies of 2009:

1. tiger woods

being the most fresh of the bunch, we'll start here. this story is far from over because tiger is still lying. while he doesn't owe us, the public, anything, his continued refusal to address the issue in a forthright manner guarantees that the intrigue and skepticism will continue. the problem that tiger currently faces is the apparent life of lies that he has perpetuated. you couldn't pay me enough to be famous. because of the pressure put on somebody of tiger's stature by himself and others, his dominance on the golf course pales in comparison to the pressure in his daily life. sinking a 40-foot putt on the 18th green to win the masters is a cakewalk compared to having to be perfect in the eyes of the world. it's not fair, but it is the reality, especially when your name is tiger.

2. alex rodriguez

a-rod has to be sitting back in his hot tub and having a good laugh with k-hud. "hey kate, how 'bout tiger? man, i thought i was going down as the most tormented athlete of the year, but now, i'm off the hook..." to which kate hudson replies, "i'm just glad that you're not going to try and off yourself now when i dump you like my ex with the funny nose did last year..." (too soon? never?)

but seriously, does anybody even remember what it felt like when serena roberts announced that she was going to expose a-rod as a steroid-user? of course, nobody was shocked, but i can vaguely remember denial, followed by weepy interviews and half-confessions on 60 minutes and with peter gammons.

nobody remembers because it happened more than 14 minutes ago, and the yankees won the world series and alex had a couple of hits during some big games.

nobody remembers it because a couple of weeks later it happened again with manny and big papi.

nobody remembers it because baseball is forever soiled and the only way anybody can be a baseball fan is to be either naive/ignorant or really old and cranky.

tiger had to call a-rod within the past week, right? just to ask for advice or to hear alex say that everything's going to be alright?

3. david letterman

letterman told some jokes and seemed to gain more fans as a result of his exposed lies. "hey, everybody, let's make fun of marriage and glorify infidelity..." in reality, of everybody on this list, letterman made out with the least amount of dirt on his hands. laughter and honesty are powerful allies.

4. balloon boy

does it count as a lie if nobody believed it for more than 30 seconds?

5. john and kate

actually, give john and kate some credit. in an effort to annihilate the reputation of each other, and to grab as many dollars left on the table, both have seemed to be pretty forthright and honest in the aftermath of their bitter separation. of course, the affairs, the stealing of money from joint bank accounts, and accusations of poor parenting practices all put on parade for the public to consume, doesn't seem like the best of ideas.

6. octomom

i don't really know what this woman did that made so many people mad, but at some point she had to be lying to someone. the real tragedy is that the moniker "octomom" became a commonly-accepted phrase used in everyday conversation.

7. rick pitino

having sex with a woman in the back room of a restaurant is probably not a good idea, even if it is "consensual." paying the same woman thousands of dollars for an abortion and her silence about the matter is probably a worse idea. the amazing thing about this is how pitino was able to carry this lie around for six years. telling lies is like digging a hole. once you start with one lie, you are forever required to keep a shovel on you at all times to keep digging the hole. pitino found himself at the bottom of a hole that was six years deep, and only through confession and repentance can he climb his way out.

8. global warming

when my father-in-law told me about this last week i figured he had watched too much fox news again.

but climate-gate seems to be real. or maybe it's not. i don't know. what i do know, is that i'm completely over every scandal/lie being called something-gate. why is our society fixated on calling events or stories stupid names? do yourself a favor and peruse this wikipedia list for a few minutes.

as a whole, humanity is really stupid and lacking creativity and cleverness.

9. michael jackson

while MJ had a lot of skeletons in his closet that most likely lead to the increased amounts of drugs in his system to dull the pain of his transgressions, ultimately leading to his untimely death (see kids, lying kills), the lie i'm referring to is the lie that we, the people bought into following his death.

micheal jackson was a transcendent and phenomenally influential and talented pop artist. his music is out-freakin'-standing and the cultural impact of his life is a legacy unmatched by any other.

with thousands of cameras and millions of people chattering about his death, does anybody find it interesting that nobody was talking about what a creep he was? MJ was phenomenal... 20 years ago. but the last 20 years of his life have been completely disturbing and appalling. where was the honesty in talking about what a deranged person he was? just because he died, the collective whole of society decided to disregard the fact that he was a child molester.

10. brett favre

the list wouldn't be complete without the biggest liar of them all. it's getting really hard to continue my crusade against brett favre these days. kevin and i are the only ones still on this hate-wagon, and i'm finding it hard to justify my continued displeasure with the man based on what he is doing week after week on the football field.

but let's not forget how we got here and what favre did when he held america hostage year after year with his constant flip-flopping. brett favre lied when he said that he was done. he's done it before, but this time it was too much. in a perfect world, his arm would have fallen off by now and he would be out of the league and humiliated. but karma isn't real, so he gets to enjoy the success that comes from lying, back-stabbing and cheating? (40 year-olds don't play football this well. favre is on steroids. there i said it. i have no proof, but i have no doubt in my mind about it. would you be surprised in the least if he tested positive for steroids? of course you wouldn't because it makes simple sense).

in my new years resolutions post at the beginning of this year, i resolved to forgive brett favre, "if he can announce his retirement for real this year, and i can forgive and forget him for wasting hours of my life over the past several years, then i can anticipate 2010 as a "no brett favre" year... how glorious it would be."

thanks for ruining my year, brett favre.

wrapping it up (like a christmas present)

i wrote the other day on my facebook that, 'i continue to be surprised just how surprised all of us are when a celebrity commits "transgressions.'" the reality is that we all lie. while that doesn't make it right, it makes it predictable. when i first realized that tiger was lying about what his wife was doing with that golf club, i thought that he was lying to protect his wife's reputation and i understood that. but then the reality set in that tiger's protection of his wife's "honor" was really a desperate attempt to protect his own reputation.

lying is all about a fear of man. we lie because we don't want people to think less of us. when we were kids, we lied so we wouldn't get spanked. as adults, we lie so that we won't be rejected, so we won't be judged, so we won't disappoint. we lie because it's easier to ask for an apology than it is to ask for permission. we lie because we think we are better than others and we don't want them to know that we really aren't. we lie to ourselves because we don't want to feel guilt, sorrow and shame.

it's my occupation to be lied to. i spend a majority of every week being lied to. kids lie to me about how much trouble they get into at home and school. teachers lie to me about all they are doing to make sure my clients are getting appropriate education. parents lie about how much time they spend with their kids and how they discipline their kids when they screw up.

you would think that i would be better at picking out a liar, but in all honesty, i'm terrible at it. i continue to be be disappointed and shocked by most lies because i continue to be oblivious to the crooked nature of my fellow humans. we're bent toward lies because we're programmed for survival, and survival today means being well-liked and happy.

all jokes aside, will 2009 go down as "the year of the lie?" can society as a whole agree to get all our lies out of the system withing the rest of the month so '10 can be a year of honesty? of course not. i'm lying to myself if i think for a minute that you and i are going to stop lying to one another, and that's pretty rotten.

Monday, November 16, 2009

mentor of men

by all accounts, tony dungy is a wonderful man. for those of you who don't know (heidi?), dungy is the former NFL coach, who now works part time as a studio analyst, and is the most respected man in the world.

when michael vick began to position himself for a comeback to football following the murder of some dogs and time in the big house, his association with dungy as his "mentor" was spoken of relentlessly as the key to his reinstatement.

after legarrette blount punched a guy from idaho in the jaw after the first game of the college football season, it looked like his season, and perhaps even career was in jeopardy. originally suspended for the year, blount is now returning to play. why has he been reinstated? tony dungy is his mentor.

i don't know what dungy does with his days, but i believe he wakes up each morning, grabs the paper from the doorstep, and searches for stories of troubled athletes that he can save from destruction.

when walking his dog, tony dungy stops and helps little children retrieve their stranded cats from sprawling trees.

the last time anything negative was spoken about tony dungy, he was 4 months old and had just pooped in his diaper.

mother theresa wasn't this respected (too far?)

maybe agents and coaches call him and ask for his services. more likely, he calls them up himself and says something along the lines of, "hi, this is tony dungy. i'd like to save you from yourself and change your life. is that something you would be interested in?"

i respect tony dungy. i respect the interest and investment dungy makes in the lives of young men who have lost their ways. tony dungy has a vibrant faith in God and humanity that seems to propel him toward helping others. in reality, it's what more men and women should be doing. i might not have the influence and leverage of a man like tony dungy, but i have countless opportunities to speak into and encourage other people every day. there's a word for what dungy is doing, it's called discipleship. Jesus Christ, if you remember, was a big advocate of this type of behavior.

if you're waiting for me to make fun of dungy (my usual approach to writing a blog), don't worry, i'm not going to. if you think that i'm going to get sentimental/political/sociological/provocative/etc., i'm not going to do that either.

what i am going to do is offer my services of mentor-ship for the legions of readers who have come to depend on me for guidance and assistance.

when i was a young lad (ages 19-22) a pastor named chuck took me under his wing and taught me all sorts of stuff. he taught me about the bible and theology. he taught me how to play guitar. he taught me how to care for people, and to listen and to be patient and persevere with people, even when they disappoint and often disparage you.

i may not be as wise and wonderful as these men, but i am qualified to coach you on how to be manly.

having recently devoted more than a full day's worth of time watching mad men, i can't stop thinking about don draper. draper is a man's man. draper could wear a skirt and he would still be the man. i have a hard time watching mad men with my wife because i'm afraid that heidi will discover the thoughts that are going through my head when he is on screen.

if the world was going to be blown up and we could only save one person han solo-style in some sort of cryogenic freeze chamber, i vote for don draper's legacy to live on as an indestructible landmark of awesomeness.

i'm no tony dungy, and i'm not don draper. i would modestly assert that i am the perfect combination of the two. here's what i have to offer:


the rubric for what makes one man more manly than another is a highly contested discussion that is still taking shape. the basic premise is a scoring system of positive and negative points awarded for excellence or failure in various areas. some examples include:

- outdoorsmanship and survival skills.
- the ability to eat large quantities of food.
- strength/athletic ability.
- success in relationships with the opposite sex.
- the ability to grow facial hair.
- owning and wearing flannel shirts.
- vehicle and home maintenance capabilities.
- useless sports trivia knowledge.
- mastery of fire (i.e. grilling and fire-building).
- physical appearance

some of you might be thinking to yourself, "justin, this list is unfair. i can't grow a beard, i'm already bald, and i can only do 5 push ups. how can i possibly become more manly?"

you may not be able to grow a beard, but i would be willing to bet that with four months worth of patience you could pull off a pretty sweet 'stache.

you might not be able to throw a baseball over 70 mph, but you can buy a ticket to a baseball game and learn the names of every mvp winner since '89. there's hope for you still.

also, if you sign up for my proven mentoring program, i will teach you other invaluable skills that will make you the envy of every friend, the life of every party, and the apple of her eye.

in 30 days or less, i promise that i can teach you how to:

- bet the weekly nfl lines against your friend and win with staggering consistency to the point that said friend will be begging for mercy.
- reach for things on the top shelf that other people can't reach (that's right - i can make you taller).
- wear the clothes that you have owned for years that will never get worn out.
- be loved by old people and kids alike.
- root for professional sports teams in different cities in preparation for any move that you may have to make.
- replace the clutch in your 1993 chevy s-10 pickup.
- train a dog how to carry three balls in his mouth at once.
- give a proper hi-five.
- do the dishes.
- drink cheap beer and actually enjoy it.
- eat at least one more of any given food item than any of your friends (juggernaut excluded)

you might be thinking to yourself, "justin, can you really take the time to make me more manly?

i'll make time, because i was once like you; wide-eyed, naive, i
didn't know the first thing about a subject as fundamental as risk management.

being a mentor isn't as much about me as it as about you. i believe i was placed on this earth to have a protege just like you.

i hear people say all the time that they would like to make a change in their life... that they would like to make a difference... but it's just too hard.

sure, it may be "hard to keep your shoes dry when you're kickin' in a skull" but i can help you with that.

sign up today, stop making excuses.

i'm offering a free trial membership for all of my readers. just enter the promo code "justin is the man" in the comment box below and begin to enjoy the countless benefits of living the life of a real man.

*offer not valid in texas. other restrictions apply.

Friday, November 6, 2009


i don't follow the news. go ahead and judge me, but i just don't. i'm not worldy and i'm not educated... whatever. ESPN is the only reliable source of news that i ever check, and that isn't exactly comprehensive coverage. on Friday, November 06, the following headlines were posted on google news:

Menino urges Congress to pass health care overhaul

i hear a lot of talk about the health care system. i have health care provided from my employer and i have never used it. the problem is that too many people get sick and think that a doctor can do anything about it. my friend pete drinks apple cider vinegar and eats a banana every day and is stronger than an ox. my friend kevin hasn't thrown up in more than decade and a half. the health care system overhaul is simple: don't get sick.

CDC says us making progress on swine flu vaccine

on a related note, i'm not getting the vaccine. i will sacrifice my health for the inmates who need the shot. i haven't gotten a flu shot since i was in elementary school. i don't get the flu (and i'm not going to knock on wood to protect that statement).

can someone tell me why we can't come to a settlement on whether to call this flu "H1N1" or "swine flu?" just pick a label and stick with it.

NJ jurors convict Fla. man in 'fat defense' trial

here's the synopsis of the story:

HACKENSACK, NJ - A jury convicted a Florida man Friday of murdering his former son-in-law, rejecting the man's defense that he was too fat to have run up and down a flight of stairs to commit the crime and make a quick getaway.

i walked up a couple flights of stairs today at a school and i got a little winded. since i am in peak physical condition, i can buy the defense of an obese man that he would not be able to pull off the "quick getaway."

$8000 homebuyers tax credit extended

this is good news for my friends kenny and shorty because they are the only responsible people i know who are in the market for a new house. i'm trying to read the fine print to figure out if i can get some cash for buying a doghouse for my dog, calvin. i plan on buying a house sometime around the year 2044. i'd like to, don't get me wrong, but i just don't see it in the immediate future.

Obama: 10.2 Percent Unemployment 'A Sobering Number'

10.2 percent is a sobering number if it's Blood Alcohol Content (or is that the opposite of sobering?)

wasn't obama supposed to fix all this by now?

War at Home: First Responders Describe Carnage at Fort Hood

i actually watched some of the coverage of this last night so i am at least semi-competent to discuss it (not really). the thing about the military is that it creates crazy. soldiers are subjected to horrors that you and i will never dream of. this is a tragedy. did you know that soldiers are dying every day for our country? you don't because nobody ever talks about it. we're desensitized to the daily casualties because it isn't happening next door. i'm guilty of it just as much as anybody, so i'm not throwing stones here. we just need to think about how we can support soldiers and their families better than we are.

Rihanna describes night of attack by Chris Brown

this story is just strange. i've never come close to even consider hitting heidi. i don't know how this happens.

Wanda Sykes promises to pull no punches on new show

why? i can guarantee that under no circumstance will i ever watch this show. t

Tapitsfly wins Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf

we went to the track to bet on the ponies a few weekends ago and it was a riot. good times. my betting strategy consisted of picking the first name that stood out to me, and then making sure it was a long shot so my $2 would at least turn in to $14 or more. needless to day i did not walk away a winner that night.

New Mexico suspends hair-pulling soccer player

i need to start watching women's sports. this lambert girl is out of control. the guy from florida was gouging eyes out in a game last weekend, and now this girl from new mexico is forearm-checking and pulling hair. what is wrong with people?

Berlin Prepares for Celebrations 20 Years After Fall of Wall

while playing cranium against our significant others the other night, pete acted out the berlin wall charades-style and i guessed it right. i believe his acting consisted of standing, peering and holding his arms straight out from his torso. great moment.

Honduras leadership in limbo as accord dissolves

i know nothing about foreign affairs. i think the use of "limbo" in this title is inflammatory and derogatory. tomorrow's headline will probably make reference to pinatas and refried beans. you should be above this, Associated Press.

and that, ladies and gentlemen, are you headlines for Friday, November 06, 2009. glad i could provide you with invaluable information that will undoubtedly serve to help you lead a more sophisticated and pompous life.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

stuff other people like that i don't

*** note to reader: my internet pooped out as i went to publish this and i lost at least half of what was written. i'm not saying that you're missing much, but know that there was more, and i was too pissed to re-think and type it out again. i was also too lazy to edit for mistakes, so you're going to have to put up with that as well. enjoy.

had i not missed the first half hour, this could have just as easily been a the quick and the dead running diary. i love westerns, especially ones that are terrible.

i suppose all people are naturally afraid of what they don't know. it's human nature. if you're anything like me, the only civilized thing to do in these situations is to mock that which you don't know. in that spirit, it's time to mock the things that other people find enjoyable in order to elevate my own sense of self-esteem.


don't get me wrong, i love STAR WARS. i've seen the trilogy a hundred times and may or may not still have fantasies about wielding a lightsaber. but what's the deal with boba fett? why do adults get dressed up like chewbacca and hang out at conventions in cheap hotel lobbies? note to anybody reading: you can like something without getting completely obsessed about it. this happens with all things sci-fi: star trek, battlestar galactica, stargate sg-1, x-files, babylon 5, firefly, LOST (yeah, i went there). give me bret michaels giving some stripper an STD any day, or "seven strangers... finding out what happens when people stop being polite, and start being real!" better yet, let's all agree to take a walk around the neighborhood after dinner and actually have some interaction with actual people.


i always hear that NASCAR is the most popular sport in america. really? never mind that driving around in a circle hardly meets the definition of "sport;" (is that a proper use of a semicolon?) when one gets into NASCAR, does he cheer for the car or the driver? the car is the one doing all the work, so why would i pledge allegiance to some guy who pushes a gas peddle and holds a wheel? it all makes very little sense to me. other "sports" i can't support are: hockey, soccer, boxing/mixed martial arts, tennis, golf, and women's sports.


somewhere in my parents attic, tucked between boxes of baseball cards were supposed to pay for my first house, a collection of GIJOE action figures and buckets of LEGOS, is a box full of iron man, the incredible hulk, fantastic four, x-men, spiderman, and batman comics. i used to buy them to look at the pictures; (again, semicolon?) reading the dialog bubbles was too difficult for my young mind to comprehend. somewhere in junior high i lost interest and figured that my peers would do the same. wrong. they just changed the name to "graphic novel" and dug in deeper.


i know i'm going to get some heat on this one (insulting my one loyal reader may not be in my best interest), but i just don't get the whole bike thing. a bicycle is a perfectly reasonable mode of transportation, but why do people feel the need to recreate their identity based on their chosen mode of transportation? those silly little hats with the bill flipped up? walking around with one pant leg rolled up so that everyone in the bar knows you rode your bike here? congratulations, you saved some gas and reduced your carbon footprint. i'm emptying my checking account and buying a horse. now there's a mode of transportation that a man can take pride in. when you see me at the northside tavern, standing against the wall in my boots, chaps, and stetson, you'll think twice about bragging about your bike. and if you have a problem with that, i've got a six-shooter on each side of my belt and we can settle this like men (i'm sorry, this movie's getting to me. i just spent the last 10 minutes on ebay searching for a gun belt with two holsters).


i like ice cream. i like cookies dipped in milk. apple pie also makes me happy. but if i'm going to stuff my face with empty calories, then bring on the cheese. i'll take nachos over a piece of cake any day. chocolate just doesn't do it for me, and i've never understood the sentiment that chocolate is "to die for" or "heavenly sinful." it's pretty ok, but nowhere near the pleasure that comes from deep-fried pretty much anything.


forget it. let's just move on.


cats are the worst. they are rude, unpredictable, not fun and stupid. why would anybody choose to let a multitude of these beasts infest their home? the one thing worse than cats themselves - the countless number of pictures of cats with stupid captions on the internet. can i get a google filter that blocks any cat-related images from appearing in my browser? cats have literally no value. if a cat would bring back a ball when i throw it, or bark when a stranger comes to my door, then maybe i'd consider rescinding my hatred. we all know that's not going to happen though, because cats are just going to continue sitting there and plotting how to make our lives miserable. dogs are vastly superior to cats in ever way.


i've heard it said that one must face their fears head on in order to overcome them. that sounds like a terrible idea. the only possible result of such action can be viciously frightening things like: intellectual enlightenment, broadening of horizons, and increased compassion and tolerance for others different than yourself. no thanks - i'll hold on to my stereotypes and irrational fears.

the next time the evil mayor played by gene hackman says to you, "you're not fast enough..." you just look him in the eyes and say, "i am today" just like sharon stone did. and then shoot.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

crystal balls

i can't let the football season begin (it already began?) without publishing my division winners picks. kevin posted a full preview because kevin is not married and does not have a life. if you want to be entertained and spend more than 3 minutes looking at how one man believes the NFL will unfold this year, read this. unfortunately, i don't have the ability to write such a comprehensive assessment. i could blame this inability on lack of time, but that would be untrue. i think "other priorities" is more accurate (whatever that means).


new england
san diego

green bay
carolina (that's right)

since i'm feeling so nostradamus-y, i'll throw some more predictions your way:

1. i will drink a keg's worth of pumpkin beer in the next few months. had the first one of the season last week and am feeling up to the task of trying every variety i can get my fingers on.

2. heidi will run more miles than me over the remainder of the year. currently, (if we are starting today) she is up in miles 10 - 3. if i break her legs then i can catch her. but if i break her legs there might be other repercussions and consequences i am not prepared to deal with.

3. i will regret at least half of those NFL picks. the carolina pick especially will leave me doubting my own intelligence and sexuality.

4. the st. louis cardinals and new york yankees will meet in the world series. i used to believe in the dodgers, but have abandoned that pick faster than my dog calvin can tear the cover off a tennis ball (really fast). st. louis will win because God can't be bought. and since God can't be bought, he will punish the yankees for thinking they could buy a championship. i picture alex rodriquez being torn apart limb from limb by a hungry pack of alley cats on the field.

5. heidi and i will know what the heck we are going to do with our life before the end of '09. should we stay or should we go? if we go, to where will it be?

that's all. for further reading, may i suggest you go back and read my "idioms" post from last week? and yes, kevin, i came up with those on my own. i have a piece of scratch paper with those and more scribbled on it. i spent at least 2 hours coming up with that list and am insulted that you question my intelligence and integrity.

Monday, September 7, 2009

the cat's out of the bag!

it's labor day, and with absolutely nothing to do today, i will toil away to bring you a long overdue blog.

i love idioms. a picture is worth a thousand words, but i can't draw, so i'll stick with the thousand words to present you with some of my favorites

"tall drink of water"

i get this one all the time, and to be quite honest i kinda like it. if someone is fat, are they a "a huge bite of pizza?"

"barking up the wrong tree"

my dog barks all the time, but never up trees. i guess that means he is on point and i shouldn't tell him to stop.

"what's good for the goose is good for the gander"

"what the hell is a gander anyway?" "it's a goose that's had the old switcheroo pulled on her."

"have your cake and eat it too"

it's not too much to ask to be able to eat a piece of cake if one has been offered to you. possession of cake is fine, but rather pointless and un-fulfilling if not consumed.

"actions speak louder than words"

i disagree. words are spoken, not actions. therefore, actions are inaudible, and thus cannot be louder than words, which are, of course, heard.

"an accident waiting to happen"

shawne merriman strangled tila tequila the other night. now that was an accident waiting to happen. except that it most likely wasn't an accident. so more accurately, that would be "a domestic violence waiting to happen."

"six in one, half dozen in the other"

that's one dozen according to my calculations. if i have twelve of anything in my hands, then i am pretty content. unless it's a dozen steaming piles of poop.

"when life gives you lemons, make lemonade"

of course, if you have two hand-fulls of poop in your possession, you might as well throw them at your friends for a good laugh.

"kill two birds with one stone"

i once killed a bird with my bb gun. i felt pretty bad about it. had i killed two birds with that one shot, i would have been amazed.

"a bird in hand is better than two in the bush"

not if you're the dead bird. i wonder if birds have idioms that they share with one another: "when berries give you diarrhea, crap on somebody's head."

"a little bird told me"

i don't trust anybody who gets their information from birds, or any other animal. the only talking bird i trust is Big Bird, and he wasn't little.

"if you want to make an omelet, you have to break some eggs"

the current cincinnati reds' season is a lot of broken eggs, but no omelet in sight.
all's well that ends well... except not.

"don't put all your eggs in one basket"

what is it with idioms about fowl and their offspring? better advice would be: don't put eggs in your jeans' pockets and ride a bike.

"don't count your chickens before they hatch"

again with the reproductive habits of fowl. it's enough already.

"a watched pot never boils"

untrue: i just watched a pot of water boil in order to cook my macaroni & cheese. (we call that research, and i'm willing to put in the extra work to provide a quality product).

"two peas in a pod"

anthony bourdain just compared a dish that he was eating to "having sex with twins." "identical twins in a uterus" would convey similarity better than "two peas in a pod."

"beggars can't be choosers"

can choosers be beggars? if so, that's unfair.

"a day late and a dollar short"

one day and one dollar? i feel like we can work something out here. are you really going to "bust my chops" over something so minor?

"an apple a day keeps the doctor away"

if an apple is "just what the doctor ordered," and the result is good health and less-frequent visits from patients, perhaps the doctor should consider another order that is more financially advantageous.

"cool as a cucumber"

if this refers to temperature, then there are several items that are cooler than a cucumber. if the reference is to personality, "cool as jay z" would be appropriate (speaking of HOV, the news of his album release being moved up to tomorrow has me feeling "like a kid in the candy store." "dollars for donuts" it will be great.

"an ax to grind"

you can only grind an ax for so long before it's time to just "bury the hatchet."

"cat got your tongue?"

apparently there are many cats getting many tongues in the world of baseball. taking steroids not only shrinks your balls and expands your cranium, but also has adverse effect on the tongue. (allowing the cat to get your tongue is an attempt to circumvent "eating crow" or having "egg on your face," rather than "taking the bull by the horns").

"best of both worlds"

is this the experience of having your cake and eating it too?

"bring home the bacon"

my mother-in-law brings home bacon all the time. she works for a bacon company.

"colder than a witches' tit"

that's just funny.

"go fly a kite"

and if you tie a key to that kite and fly it in a lightening storm, you just might discover electricity.

"beating a dead horse"

as in, "justin, this blog is beating a dead horse. take a hike!"

Saturday, August 15, 2009

remembering "the king of pop" (or not)

it's 1:39 on a saturday afternoon, which can only mean one thing: somewhere there is a michael jackson retrospective special on tv.

the reason for my extended absence from this blog was a conscious decision to not post until the media settled down with it's MJ coverage, but since that doesn't seem to be happening anytime soon, i guess i'll figure out some way to waste our collective time.

break the silence.

+++ the other day a one of my clients (an 11-year old boy) said, "for your FYI..."

this is brilliant, and lead me to think of some other great statements:

- "by the BTW..."
- "my estimated ETA is..."
- "what the WTF?"
- "oh my OMG!"
- "thank God it's TGIF"
- "too much TMI"

feel free to drop some of these gems in everyday conversation and be the envy of all your friends.

and if you are interested, a comprehensive list of internet-style slang can be found here.

+++ after watching 2.5 minutes of Keeping up with the Kardashians, i'm ready to exterminate the entire human race. we've had a good run, but i'm pretty sure primates, earthworms, and giraffes would demonstrate more dignity and intelligence at this point.

+++ last night my friends kenny, shorty and i were deliberating whether or not to go out following the atrocity that was the reds-nationals game. as we stood in kenny's driveway, we allowed a coin flip to decide our fate. the quarter landed on tails and we all went home. shorty joked that we should have called kevin to tell us what to do, and we agreed this would have been a better solution than our coin flip. the reason i tell this story is to illustrate the inability of three grown men to make a simple decision. embarrassing.

+++ speaking of the reds' game, adam dunn is looking leaner than in his cincinnati days. do they not have Waffle Houses in D.C.?

+++ Rio Bravo is better than Bladerunner.

+++ in reviewing what i have written so far, it is evident that i have no regard for the rules of capitalization. i'm a rebel when it comes to punctuation and grammar. i do whatever i want in part because i want to, but mostly because i am lazy.

+++ i was terrified earlier this week when i saw a headline that read: "heidi poses in playboy." thankfully, it was not my wife.

(i found this out from reading the rest of the article, not from looking at playboy.)

+++ speaking of heidi (my wife, not the wench of MTV's The Hills fame)... she baked up some pizzas earlier this week that would make your knees weak. have i ever mentioned how fortunate i am to be married to this woman? right now there is approximately 86k calories of cookie in our kitchen.

+++ heidi also got a haircut recently and now has bangs again. i would post a picture, but if you want to see her, you'll have to come visit us. this point did not need to be included, but i want it published on the world wide web how attractive she is.

+++ and that concludes the "heidi is great" segment of this blog. tune in next time as i wax poetically about heidi's dancing, singing and parallel parking skills.

+++ The Wire, even the second time through, is absolutely perfect. i wish 'bunny' colvin was my grandfather. he's good po-lice

+++ pete and heather asked me to be an usher for their upcoming wedding. although they were unaware at the time, i informed them of my extensive ushering and groomsmen experience in order to calm any anxiety they might have regarding my ability to fulfill this important task. for example, in the last wedding i worked, the bride's grandmother, mother and a bridesmaid were all walked down the aisle by yours truly. that's three trips up without a single incident, and three more ladies who can speak to my professional, yet fun-loving approach to the wedding performance business. i'm available for hire and am listed in the yellow pages under Gigolos (it was the best i could think of).

+++ i already mowed the lawn and washed the dishes, so don't judge me for the excessive amount of time i wasted on writing down these thoughts.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Why I Was Doomed to Never Become a Professional Athlete

Awhile back Kevin called me up with a delightful idea to do a back-and-forth blog. Of course, my response was a resounding "heck yes." We traded emails about the subject at hand and came up with what you are about to read. If my mom is reading this, I'm sorry for all of Kevin's cursing.

KEVIN: I crack under pressure. Over the past few years, I've come to grips with this. It's not something I'm proud of, but something I've learned to deal with and even joke about (even though with each joke, my confidence crumbles just a little more, and I slip deeper into a chasm of inadequacy).

Anyway, this last 4th of July weekend, I visited Cincinnati to enjoy the annual event my friends and I have succinctly titled "Let's go watch $2500 worth of fireworks get shot off in Billy's backyard." Before the "oooohs" and "aaahhhs" commenced, a large group of us were playing a muddy, sloppy game of backyard volleyball (another tradition). Normally in large groups, I'm an adequate and sometimes even good "athlete." I hang back, do my part, and even occasionally put someone in their place with a completely unintended and perfectly placed shot.

(In order to salvage a few scraps of pride, I want to quickly make the point that I'm not like Smalls from Sandlot. I don't close my eyes and stick my hand up in the air and have a phenom (Benny) cover for me by hitting a perfect fly ball right into my mitt. My asshole doesn't tighten when the ball's heading toward me. I know how to play sports, and those of you who know me can attest. By the way, if Benny was so good, why the hell was he being put in as a pinch runner at the end of the movie when he was playing for the Dodgers? Sure, he stole home, but I've already seen that happen like three times this baseball season, so big deal. And everyone knows that pinch runners are usually shitbag players. Terrible directorial decision).

Okay, now back to my point. We weren't keeping score in this volleyball game, so the main objective for anyone with competitive blood was to get in a solid block or swat that shit back in an unsuspecting 15-year old girl's face. What else could the objective possibly be? Finally, after about an hour of playing in the rain and waiting for my opportunity, a ball was lofted my way. In moments like this, I don't even think about choking. I used to, but now I feel like it's become so ingrained in my psyche that my brain doesn't really need to expend any energy in embarrassing me. It just does. So as the ball was getting larger and larger in my eyes, I jumped up, cocked my arm, and whiffed with such an intensity that the ball hit me in the head on the way back down. Laughs ensued, and I played it off by laughing as well (this is a recent development in my cracking under pressure personality trait. I used to get bent out of shape, but now I find it almost comical enough to the point where I laugh as well . . . almost).

JUSTIN: I was there when Kevin whiffed on the volleyball, and I can tell that it was hilarious. Classic choke-ery.

As a fellow struggling CUPA (crack under pressure anonymous), I can affirm that this syndrome is crippling. I should ask our friend Heather, who is a therapist, if there is a diagnosis in DSM IV for this condition. Perhaps we can be prescribed medicine that will alleviate our daily pain.

I could share stories about all the times I have cracked under pressure, but I already wrote about it on the blog a few months ago so I'll skip reliving those traumas now. As i think about it, perhaps the key is going back to our pasts and examining what went wrong early on in order to discover the underlying factors that contribute to this inadequacy.

Blame rests squarely on the shoulders of my parents. They were too supportive. My dad wasn't athletic and never yelled at me to try harder or do better. If i had the dad from Varsity Blues, I probably would have experienced more success. If I was afraid to fail, because I would be beat or verbally abused when I got home, I would have learned to deal with the pressure would have been a better sportsman because of it. It worked for James Van Der Beek. All of this "I'm proud of you son" and "as long as you did your best..." talk did nothing but make me mentally weak. Thanks a lot, Dad. My son will get no support whatsoever and will thank me for it when he's older.

So am i screwed? Is there hope for things to get better? Probably not. But perhaps it can be overcome in another way. And i'm talking about performance enhancing drugs (PEDs) here. Listen, we kill athletes who crack under pressure. Alex Rodriguez can hit the cover off a baseball in innings 1-8, but when the game is on the line, he wilts like a delicate rose in the Sahara desert. For years Barry Bonds was considered a failure under pressure ('02 Series performance changed that), Donovan McNabb has thrown up on the field, Tony Romo can't hold a snap, and on and on. These guys are infamous in their mishandling of pressure. Hell, it can even extend to an entire organization (New York Mets in previous two years, Boston Red Sox until '04, Dallas Cowboys in the playoffs, etc.) Peyton Manning can't handle the pressure. neither can Lebron James.

I'm not suggesting that all of these players are on steroids, but I'm making the point that one can be extremely successful in spite of his/her inability to perform well under pressure. So, what is the PED that you and I can stick in our own ass (figuratively)? The key for guys like you and me is to inflate our "stats" in the 99 meaningless scenarios in our lives, so that when the pressure cooker is turned up,
the whiff won't define us.

Here's my other ray of hope to offer: ESPN2 is showing NFL's Greatest Games right now - 99 playoffs: Niners vs. Packers. Terrell Owens dropped four passes throughout the course of that game and looked like the ultimate goat. I remember watching that game and being disgusted with the whole thing. I wanted to murder Terrell Owens. Jerry Rice, the greatest wide receiver of all time is catch-less while T.O. is playing football with concrete blocks fastened to his hands. Brett Favre, the ultimate under pressure guy is looking like he gets to add another fourth quarter comeback to his bloated resume, and I'm about to cry/vomit/commit suicide. Jerry Rice uncharacteristically cracks under pressure and fumbles (oh wait, the officials decide to intercede and make a terrible call to keep the drive going) and then what happens? As if God himself decided to intercede on behalf of all chokers everywhere, Terrell Owens gets his wooden hands on a ball thrown by Steve Young with three seconds on the clock to win the game 30-27. redemption under pressure.

So there are the two options we have in order to overcome this disorder: inflate our regular season stats to diminish the failures in pressure situations, or blow it repeatedly and wait for God himself to give us one shining moment of glory. You decide.

KEVIN I think you're trying to bait me in with the Peyton Manning comment, so I'll bite. Cracking under pressure when you're a Super Bowl winner immediately disqualifies you. Sure, he's had some wayward moments in the playoffs, but he got it done in 2006, thus voiding all previous chokes. There is no argument to be had here. I'm right.

Wilts like a delicate rose in the Sahara Desert? Wow. That was quite the wing-dinger. Anyway, I'd like to think we could inflate our "stats" to supersede our choking in pressure packed moments, but you're basically disproving that theory through your list of athletes who put up monster stats but never come through when it matters. McNabb has been in five NFC Championship games in the past decade and has no Super Bowl to show for it. That's outrageous. You think people are going to talk about his consistent playoff prowess or his inability to win the big game? It'll be the latter every single time. Remember that clip of Steve Young having the imaginary monkey pulled off his back before he finally won a Super Bowl during the years of Cowboys domination? No way is he looked at in the same light unless he wins a Super Bowl and proves that he's some kind of equivalent to Montana (even though we all know he's not).

Daniel LaRusso was right. During the heart wrenching scene in the locker room following his leg mutilation at the hands of the Cobra Kai, Mr. Miyagi tells Daniel that he had nothing more to prove. He had accomplished the necessary steps to earn respect. I say fuck that. Daniel knew that if he forfeited the championship match, then that's what he was gong to be remembered for, and it would never be square in his mind. So, he sucked it up, raised a middle finger to the pressure, and went out and crane kicked Johnny Lawrence's ass right back to Beverly Hills. And you know what happened? Johnny handed Daniel the trophy and told him he was "all right." While, I thought the final scene was forced (given the collective personality, shouldn't the Cobra Kai be made up of bitter, enraged sore losers?), it solidified Daniel's reputation as a winner who could meet the pressure head on. Plus, he probably got to fuck Elisabeth Shue later that night in the ball pit at Golf N' Stuff.

JUSTIN Kevin is forcing me to type this with correct capitalization because Kevin can't handle my free-wheelin' ways. I don't conform to the archaic and tedious rules of grammar that Kevin, the editor, is a slave to. A period is sufficient to mark the beginning and end of a sentence, and a capital letter is unnecessary to convey this meaning.

That being said, you're right Kevin, I was baiting you with that Peyton Manning comment - and it worked. I have nothing more to say about that.

Danel Larussa is a classic example of somebody who spent his entire life cracking under pressure, but was able to overcome because of a completely unpredictable event that changed the course of history. Had Johnny Lawrence not swept Daniel's leg, I'm relatively certain Daniel would not have been able to pull that figurative monkey off his back. Aside from his completely unrealistic swagger and confidence in courting young women, there is no indication that Daniel was ever up to the task of completing an objective under pressure. Dude was a whiny little girl who threw his bike in the dumpster 'cause he fell and skinned his knee.

If Daniel can do it, then so can we. I mean it, if Hollywood has taught us anything about anything, it is that the improbable can and will happen. Johnny Utah, star quarterback for Ohio State, cracked under pressure in the Rose Bowl three years ago (actually his knee got folded about 90 degrees the wrong way, but my point is better made if he failed because he couldn't handle the pressure).

Do you Remember the Titans? Of course you do. You remember this team not because they won a game (Did they win the state title? I don't even remember), but because they overcame adversity. Sure, we might not have to overcome racism or any other -ism to succeed, but we have to succeed.

This is how we settle it: You, me, and two vehicles on an abandoned stretch of road for a game of "chicken." That's right, two motor vehicles barreling toward each other at excessive speeds with the result of one man standing tall and the other man most likely flying off a cliff in a burning inferno of flaming car. If you and I would put everything on the line, one of us would have to be victorious. Although one of us would have to deal with the pain of failing under pressure once again, at least one of us (most likely me) would break out of the funk. This has to work. It can't fail.

KEVIN:You're assumption that you'd be able to rebound out of a life full of cracking under pressure is beyond me. How you got married, I'll never know. I admit that took balls, but I guess by the time the wedding's actually happening, you can't really back out anyway. Who's going to eat all the shrimp cocktails and drink all the Keystone Light? By the wedding day, you're already in so deep, it's pretty much impossible to puss out. It would almost be more courageous to call the wedding off the day of instead of go through it. So, I take it back (this is no slight to Justin, or Heidi for that matter. Their wedding was a fucking blast).

Obviously, I'm being cynical, but who's really surprised with that? Even though you don't really believe it, I appreciate your confidence in breaking out of our lifelong funks, Justin. It's an admirable trait.

I'm going to wrap up my side of this inaugural joint blog post with a little blame heaved on my parents. I lacked toughness growing up. I lacked the guttural spunk and drive that could've easily catapulted me through junior high and high school with an air of confidence. Why is that, though? I played competitive sports growing up (soccer, baseball, basketball). However, I was forbidden to play football, regardless of my pleas and demands to do so. Herein lies the problem. While some don't need a solid contact sport to make them tough and succeed at not choking, I'm confident it would've aided me in my efforts. As of right now, I enjoy Project Runway more than I probably should; I only have one tattoo; aside from a creepy strip of hair on my upper lip, I can't grow facial hair; I'm pretty much pale as fuck most of the year; The end of the movie A League of Their Own brings a tear to my eye every time; and so on. These aren't tough qualities.

If I had been raised playing football, an at times violent brute sport, I'm positive I'd be somewhere chopping down redwoods, putting out a forest fires, walking over hot coals barefoot, or playing tight end on a playoff bound football team. No doubt about it. Given, my mom was looking out for me because it's pretty much guaranteed that at some point in my football career I'd dislocate a shoulder, tear an ACL, or break a wrist, but shit, how fucking tough would I have looked then?

For now, I've accepted my role as a strange hybrid of a diehard sports fan/hipster/nerd/person. Am I doomed to crack under pressure for the rest of my life? Who knows. I don't think we really even answered the fucking question. I occasionally come through in the clutch. But this mainly happens when I'm playing video games by myself or shooting a crinkled up piece of paper into the trash can. Eh whatever, I'll take it.


Well, I'm cured.

For those of you who weren't there, I visited Kevin up in Chicago this weekend and had a blast. Late Saturday night (roughly 3 a.m. or so) in the back room of some bar that we were hanging out at because Kevin is hip and cool and has connections now, there was a game of pool being played that inevitably would change my life. Kevin and his foul-mouthed female associate against me and a dude named Phil. I talked up my game before we started, and proceeded to miss every single shot. Phil knocked in every one of our solids while I engaged in a comedy of errors. My game was a wreck - until the pressure was on. That's right, 8-ball staring me in the face. I leaned down, surveyed the table, lined up my shot, and broke the curse, while breaking the spirit of my opponents.

In Independence Day, those aliens thought they were pretty special. They thought they had it all figured out, and for a second there, it looked like they did. It was sad to see Alex, from Saved By the Bell: The College Years get blown up by a giant tractor beam from a UFO while standing atop that funky building in Los Angeles. All was lost. Even Jeff Goldblum had given up because he was smarter than everyone else and saw the handwriting on the wall.

Do you remember who saved the day? Of course you remember Will Smith as the conquering hero, but do you remember his life up to that point? Rejected time and time again from NASA (apparently because his girlfriend was a stripper? Not sure what that had to do with anything), unable to decide whether to pull the trigger and get hitched to his girl, and meddling in an uneventful life with his dog, Boomer.

When the moment was the most tense, the pressure was greatest, the stakes the highest, and the fate of humanity itself on the line, the NASA reject saved the world. Will Smith flew an alien ship into the belly of the beast and killed all the tyrannical aliens. I made an extremely easy shot to win a game of pool against some drunk people - i think the two are congruous. I'm ready to move on.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

the matrix (and other stuff)

it's thursday night, the wife is gone, and the matrix is on. you know what that means...

in the past week i have had two blog ideas ruined:

1) i planned a running diary of the soccer game on sunday between usa and some country in south america. i was so excited because i know nothing about soccer, and relish the opportunity to mock things that i don't understand. i was going to make fun of the sport, the weird beehive noise throughout the game and anything else i could observe and report upon. but alas, i was invited to go swimming at the norwood community pool, and in spite of my best efforts to reject this invitation, in the end i decided to let my real life infringe upon and ruin my e-life. i'm sorry.

2) i had all these thoughts about the death of michael jackson and planned to share them with you, but bill simmons and chuck klosterman stole my thunder by discussing the reaction to the reaction of his death in detail, to the point that i figured i would be seen as ripping them off. suffice it to say, that we all went to a high school where the weird drama kid died unexpectedly and everybody started pouring on the emotion in order to make it all about them. we love any reason to make anything about us. michael jackson is a tragic figure because he has been used his entire life. even in his death, he is being used.

"don't give me any of that juris-my-diction crap..." what a line. and it didn't even come from keanu. i'm sure i will have some classic lines to share in the coming moments.

have i mentioned that facebook is destroying my blog? yes i have. let's move on

"i'm trying to free your mind. i can only show you the door. you're the one who has to walk through it." - morpheus to neo.

4th of july? i'm a fan. wrote about this last year, and gave you 1776 reasons why i love this holiday. these reasons still ring true today, as loud as the liberty bell.

in this economy, even Zion is in trouble. watch out for the sentinels!

my friend kevin is at an 'explosions in the sky' show right now and keeps texting me about the grandeur and majesty of it all. so very jealous.

keanu: [blank stare]

do i spend more time with my dog than any other person? that can't be healthy. on the plus side, he has seen me at my worst and loves me just the same.

keanu: "what vase? i'm sorry."

i wish patrick swayze was in this movie. the only way this experience could be better would be if instead of neo, johnny utah was the main character. i love point break.

i was naive to think that if i just started watching a movie that i have seen a thousand times and started typing my thoughts that this would go somewhere, but as the clock approaches midnight, it is apparent that this is not the case. i'm not even going to spell check this thing. call it a rough draft (with no revisions to follow).

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

on my mind.

these are the things i'm thinking about right now:

john and kate are getting divorced. malcom gladwell and his smart friends saw this coming years ago. if you don't know what i am talking about, then do yourself a favor and go buy the following three books: "tipping point," "blink," and "outliers." in "blink," gladwell tells about some psychologists who can look at married people and within 15 minutes be able to predict with over 85% accuracy whether this couple will last. it's called thin-slicing and it's fascinating. of course when it comes to the dominating demon that is kate matched with the passive pansy john, it's not that hard to see. in reality, i'm sad about this because divorce is sad. divorce is tragic. i don't watch the show and i don't know much about it, but when you cut through the gossip-column celebrity obsession b.s., it's a sad thing when two people decide that they can't live with one another anymore. i wish it didn't happen to people, and i pray to God everyday that it doesn't happen to heidi and i.

yes, i know that they are making a "where the wild things are" movie. yes, i'm excited about it. that book was my favorite as a child and obviously i have a big enough connection with it to defile myself with a tattoo of it's images. but i swear that if another stranger asks to see my arm, and then makes some sort of comment about the forthcoming movie i am going to start firing shots into the crowd (yes, i carry a firearm at all times). i like spike jonze a lot (director) but think david eggers is a tool (screenwriter). will i be there opening night? yes i will.

people who know me, or any male born between 1976 and 1985 have been asking me if i am excited about the upcoming GIJOE movie. my answer is that i am not. mostly, i just don't pay attention to movies because i never go to see them, but also, i don't trust hollywood. i didn't see transformers because i didn't think it would be as good as the old cartoon with the sweet metal theme song. i refuse to watch 99% of the remakes that are made each year because frankly, i just can't support these money-making ploys that prey upon our collective nostalgia.

slow sports season right now. i need something to happen to spice it up. i'm hoping that "brett favre orders a steak at outback - considers retiring from retirement" scrolls across the ticker on espn just so i have something to complain about.

wait? brett favre is in the news every day because he's debating another return to football this year? this is really happening again? and some people still think that he's not the biggest turd to ever put on a helmet? i don't believe it. kevin and i have been telling you people for years to quit supporting this guy. don't say we didn't warn you.

kevin and i are so smart. (and yes kevin, "american history x" is a very good movie. but you knew that because you're almost as smart as i am).

i'm not angry. i realize that all of my comments so far have come across as condescending and vehement, but in reality, i'm in a really good mood. an unexpected date with heidi tonight afforded me some good talks, beer and comet's jerk tofu burrito, so how could i be in a poor mood? that would be silly.

one month from today i will head up to chicago to catch a cubs-reds game at wrigley with kevin. this is going to be the best. i will tweet/facebook/blog all about it.

just watched season 1 of "the wire" again this past week. if you haven't watched this show by now then we can just stop being friends and go our separate ways. i'm telling you that if you give it a chance and watch it that you will lose your damn mind. i watched some of the commentaries this time too, and can tell you that i am completely convinced that this was the smartest and most well-done show ever made. just watch it. you have no excuse. i'm going to get on facebook and see if they have a "which 'the wire' character are you?" i hope i'm bunk.

my fears have been confirmed. facebook has robbed my creative ingenuity by stealing the everyday thoughts that i usually collect and collaborate into a fine blog each week for your reading pleasure.

i'm concerned that the annual camping trip isn't going to happen. am i in charge of this thing? why is nobody asking me about it? is anybody still on board with this thing?

listened to a message today called "just do something" by this guy deyoung. it was motivating and convicting. i could be doing a lot more with my life if i just left the house and started something without thinking through all the possible ways that it could fail. malcom gladwell would be so disappointed in me, especially since i was born in april and should be much more successful than i am. jimmy mcnulty didn't think about all bad stuff that would happen if he went after the baltimore drug game without reserve. he just did it. and so should i.

did i mention that you should read malcom gladwell's books?

did i mention that you should watch "the wire?"

what are you waiting for? we could have so much more to talk about if you would just do something...

(see how i just tied all those things together like that? i'm good.)

Friday, June 12, 2009

regrettably yours,

it's been awhile. i missed you too.

i'm back with a list of regrets for your reading pleasure. some ideas might be repeats, but in all honesty, what blog of mine is not a repeat of previous posts? i don't have any new ideas. i don't have anything new to say. and when i do think of something to say, i waste it on a facebook update.

+ in 1992 i traded a TOPPS mark mcgwire rookie card to my neighbor for a 1986 TOPPS jose uribe (R.I.P.) card with a pushpin hole in the upper left-hand corner. i agreed to this trade because the giants (whom uribe played for) were my favorite baseball team and i didn't care about the monetary value of baseball cards - i only cared to collect cards of the players who wore the uniform of my favorite team. in hindsight, mcgwire ruined his legacy by using steroids and both cards are probably worth less than 3 cents today. the regret lies in the fact that i am terrible when it comes to savvy investments and money-making ventures, and i believe that this terrible trade most-clearly exemplifies this inadequacy in my life. i don't have stocks and i've never made any considerable amount of money in any arena of life. if i would have made a better trade with my neighbor, perhaps i would have gained confidence and invested in google during the early stages. perhaps i would have played the lottery just once in my life and won millions. maybe i would have bought and sold real estate during the height of the housing market. in this economy, it seems that everyone is in the same boat as me now, but the difference is that others will eventually make money when things turn around, but i will still be trading away my all star cards for utility players who bat below the mendoza line (figuratively, of course).

+ my first car was a 1988 acura integra. i bought the car just before i went to college in 1998. the car was pretty much a piece of junk, but my regret is for something much more egregious. hanging from the rearview mirror of my first car was a set of large, white fuzzy dice. in my defense, i did not purchase them (i took them from my roommate) and the hanging of the dice was a tribute to the song "the land of racecar ya yas" by cake. in the song, there is a line that states "where large fuzzy dice, still hang proudly, like testicles from rearview mirrors." i thought that was pretty funny, and still do, but as i look in the rearview mirror of my life, i regret seeing fuzzy dice in my wake.

i do not regret the less than jake bumper sticker that i slapped on the back of the same car.

+ picking the oakland A's as my dark horse team for the '09 baseball season. the pick is looking slightly less abhorrent recently (8-2 in last 10) and at least i didn't pick the royals (sorry kevin), but i could have, and should have done better.

+ i should have obtained my teaching certification when i was completing my undergrad. instead i took on some loans and got an MA in theology that earns me serious bucks now... i don't regret getting that degree, but as i search ways to get into the teaching field (something i've always wanted to do) ten years later, i realize i could have saved myself a lot of trouble if i just took care of it back then.

+ myspace. everybody was doing it, and it's not the worst thing in the world, but having a myspace account now feels as silly as hammer pants, feathered hair, slap bracelets and reebok pumps. what happened myspace? i checked my account the other day for the first time in weeks and it was like a ghost town over there. myspace used to be the hot new nightclub that people waited in line for hours to get into, but then this flashy new club called 'facebook' opened up across town and is now just days away from having the electricity shut off and the liquor license revoked. myspace users are like 45 year-old recently-divorced guys with hair plugs still hanging out at the old club scanning for drunk chicks to impress with a line like, "you see that mazda miata out front... yeah, that's mine."

+ as american history x is showing on television now, i can say with full confidence that i do not regret never getting involved in any sort of neo-nazi, hitler youth movement. recently my wife tore down letters posted around the town of florence that were posted on telephone poles to communicate that the good (white) citizens of florence need to wake up, rise up, and rage against the minorities that are living in this city. the hate in this letter is excruciating and filthy. i want to fight it somehow, but i'm not sure how without getting bricks thrown through my window and death threats. ignorance is retarded.

+ tattoos. i'm not old and wrinkled yet, but we all know that it's coming and permanent ink on my body of religious symbols, children's literature and drawings done by six year-olds will not look good in 30 years. heck, they don't look that good now. fortunately i do not have to regret swastikas and d.o.c, tattoos on my body, so at least i have that going for me.

+ i had a chance to buy a motorcycle for really cheap in 2000. it was a nice bike and i got my license in preparation for the purchase, but at the last minute i backed out. my parents and girlfriend at the time played the biggest role in ruining my fun. thanks a lot. sometimes i think about how cool i would have been riding around on my bike. sometimes i think about the likelihood that i would have crashed and burned and ended up paralyzed or skinless. but mostly i think about how cool it would have been.

+ when i got older, and it wasn't cool to play with toys anymore, my friends and i destructed my GIJOES through various acts of destruction and basic tom-foolery. explosions, falls from a great height, and general dismantling (we thought it was funny to mix the parts of the figures up - like putting GI jane's legs on snake eyes' body with the head of sgt. slaughter). i wish my GIJOE collection was ready to be given to my first-born son one day. he's going to be as mad at me as i was at my dad when i found out that he threw out all his old comics and baseball cards.

+ brian, i wouldn't regret you.

+ i regret not posting a blog for 2+ weeks. you deserve better than this.

Friday, May 29, 2009

kids, man

my wife lost her phone and camera last weekend up in oakley.

we thought they were long gone because in reality, when does that kind of stuff ever come back to you?

heidi took some time from her very busy and active work schedule to create some fancy signs to put up in the neighborhood where the electronics were lost with a big "$50 reward" claim to entice would-be helpers.

as i went to put the signs up today after work, some juvenile delinquent hollers at me to inquire of my business in his neighborhood.

"you lose a dog?"

"no, cell phone and camera."

"what's the camera look like"

i described the camera

"i think my friend mikey might have it. lemme check. is there a reward?"

"yeah man, $50 for the phone and camera. i'll give you $20 for your trouble if you can help me out."

we walk down to some house and this kid asks me to wait outside while he goes into the house to figure out his next move.

"it's in here! hold on, he's just deleting some of the pictures he took on it."

so i'm waiting outside while these kids delete the pictures they took of their testicles and morning bowls of cereal and thinking to myself, 'i feel like i'm on 'the shield' right now or something. i gotta pay this kid to lead me to the source or something like that. i could so be a cop.'

"here it is man. so you got that $20?"

"yeah man, here it is. thanks for your help."

"no problem. i know how it feels, i lost my $200 phone and $200 camera and wallet at the st. cecilia festival last week and nobody helped me out."

"that sucks man - did you put up signs that offered rewards if the items were returned?"

"nah, i knew i'd never get that shit back."

"i hear that."

"if i can find your phone, can i get the rest of the money?"

"sure kid, why not."

i drive away feeling all at once excited to get the camera back and confident that this hustler is going to track down my phone, as well as pissed off that i've got to pay some derelict kids a bunch of cash just to get this stuff back.

fast forward a half hour and i'm just getting home when i see that i'm getting a call from an unknown number:

"you lose a phone?"


"silver lg shine?"


"there's a $50 reward for it?"

"well i got the camera back already so i'll give you half."

"so $30 for the phone?"

either this kid sucks at math (a very real possibility) or my new friend from a half hour ago hit the pavement in an effort to either make some more cash or flex his altruistic muscles.

"half of $50 is $25. do you have the phone? i'll give you $25 if i get the phone back"

"yeah, i got the phone. i'll give it to you for $25."

i'm getting ripped off here. these kids are really testing my patience.

"alright kid, my wife is getting off work and she'll come get the phone from you. where are you?"

"drive through on the corner. she's gonna give me $25, right?"

"yeah dante, she'll give you $25. just stay there for another 20 minutes and she'll come pick it up."

"it doesn't work."

"the battery's dead. i just have to charge it."

"oh. (long pause). so i still get the $25?"

"yeah, you still get the money. just be waiting at the drive through with the phone. thanks for your help."

i'm sitting at home now waiting for heidi to get here. my hope is that the transaction went smoothly, but i have no way of knowing since the phone is dead. as i wait impatiently my thoughts turn to grandiose dreams of the good-ol-days when people helped people just because it was the right thing to do. when neighbors helped neighbors and a cup of sugar was only a door down if you were baking a pie. i thought about kids playing in sprinklers while parents gossiped about the latest action down at the corner store. i imagined a world in which some kid would yell out to me from his 2nd-story house to see if he could help me out, and courteously turn down my offer of a few bucks for his trouble because he is a boy scout, and he helps old ladies across the street and stuff like that according to "scout's honor." i guess there just aren't as many boy scouts as there used to be.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

beat blog

in the tradition of jack kerouac, allen ginsberg, the dude who wrote naked lunch (i can't look up the author on the internet or i would lose my stream of consciousness and destroy the premise of this blog) and the rest of the beat writers, i present my random thoughts in no particular order

it seems appropriate to give a rundown of the weekend past. i suppose i could have been tweeting and f-booking these events throughout the course of the weekend, but i'm not ready to type, "going to the store. skim milk for my wheat chex in the morning" just yet. here's the highlights: back/front yard grill out/potlucks three nights in a row. i lost approximately 14 pints of blood to mosquitoes this weekend. taste of cincinnati was a hit. i have some adjustments i would make to the festival, but i can't complain too much because i got bbq from two good places and beers from three local brewers. almost saw the reds win a game yesterday, but the rain came down and forced us out of the stadium. after 2 hours of rain delay they returned to secure the win, but i wasn't there to see the win, so i'm 0-3-1 in reds' games this year. lifetime movies with my wife. lack of sleep. excess of food and beer. lebron's shot (x 4,918).

speaking of facebook/twitter, many of you have been asking how it's going since i took the plunge (nobody has asked. heidi makes snide comments every time she sees me on facebook in a constant reminder of how i swore i would never do this, but that's not really asking. in two weeks my own wife will allow me to be her friend once my probation ends and i'm looking forward to this). i like both of these sites and i find myself more interested than i thought i would be in what my friends are actually doing. consequently, the blog is suffering, which is why you're getting random thoughts instead of something that is actually thought out and interesting. i feel like i have to check twitter often, because if i don't i might miss something. like the rest of the world is planning some hoax/prank/lark against me that i can stop from happening simply by spying on what is being said and putting it to death.

i miss pranks. i went to a lot of sleep-overs as a kid and the best part of sleep-overs is staying up until death because of the knowledge that whoever falls asleep first would fall victim to underwear in the freezer, finger in warm water, feather-to-the-nose tickle with shaving cream-on-the-palm, toothpaste in the ear, mass quantities of toilet paper, artificial insemination... you get the idea. tonight i'm freezing heidi's underwear. she's going to freak out!

i got into an interesting conversation about hipsters at one of the many backyard parties i went to this weekend. the person i asked to define hipster for me did so with the usual condemnation and went on to discuss how hipsters are people who think that they have found something cooler than most people and love to talk about it and define themselves by it. i checked with wikipedia to make sure that this person knew what she was talking about and it seems to fit. if this definition is accurate, then i don't know a single person who is not a hipster (myself included) but i hardly ever hear the term "hipster" without the term "douche" immediately following. so if everyone is a hipster, then doesn't it kind of lose it's meaning? saying "you're such a human" just doesn't have the same ring as it did when neanderthals and cro-magnum man were still wielding their clubs in the clubs. let's put an end to this term (if it hasn't already been put to death. does anyone even talk like this anymore? i'm so out of touch with reality).

speaking of reality, let's take a moment for "justin's reality tv anecdote of the week." just looking at mtv, i'm amazed at how the latest show (taking the stage) has infiltrated and perhaps influenced society. mtv started the whole "reality television simply for the sake of voyeurism without any cash-winning motivations." the real world is the grandfather and got it all going. this show was accessible (and still is) to just about any college/post-college kid. it has a premise (7 strangers, picked to live in a house...) but is short-lived and not very real (strangers aren't picked to live in houses and have their lives taped). laguna beach came along and gave birth to the hills. in this brand of reality television, we just watch people whom we believe to have better/more glamorous lives than us. people from across the world will watch a couple of personality-less drones talk/cry/stare for a half hour each week. there is no point. there is no real drama. there is nothing that happens in this show that is interesting, except the fact that it takes place in beautiful southern california and is just steps away from celebrity-dom of hollywood. but then came taking the stage. set in a mid-major city in the middle of america (cincinnati, oh) and featuring high school kids (drama/dance/performer crazy high school kids, but kids nonetheless). this show was pretty terrible, but pretty amazing at the same time. think about mtv's target audience - junior high/high school kids from across america. a show like this has to appeal to the kids in the big cities, but what about the kids in jackson hole, wy, jefferson city, mi, or eureka, ca? what do they have to relate to? how about some average-looking kids trying to figure this crazy life out while dancing hip hop and ballet and singing ballads? most kids aren't as talented as this crew, but there's a lot to relate to. and my question is how much will this influence the current generation (is it still gen y? is it z now? who knows these things?) how are kids figuring out what is cool? where do kids go to learn how to break up with their girlfriend without looking like a jerk? the same place we've always gone. so is "taking the stage" the most real television has ever been? it's scripted and edited to perfection, but it's not that far-fetched. and i can't help but think that all these kids in reno, nv and park city, ut are watching with notepads, taking notes, and making adjustments. i could be wrong... i'm probably wrong.

as a matter of fact, i guarantee i'm wrong. today, mo williams, a player for the cleveland cavs stated with confidence that his team would win the game tonight and go on to win the series. whenever some dude projects his team to secure victory in any confident terms the entire sports world goes up in flames? what's wrong with this kid being confident that his team is going to win? he didn't say anything disparaging against the orlando magic. he didn't predict a final score or make any sweeping generalizations about how his team would accomplish the goal of winning. dude just said that he plans on his team winning a contest tonight. but all day today, like every time some athlete makes some sort of projected pledge of victory, every blogger, sports talk radio host and journalist gets all crazy and starts shouting and showing veins in the neck to condemn some guy for trying to show confidence in his team. what do you expect him to say: "we don't have a shot tonight..." "i really hope we win, but i don't want to make any promises..." "i am moderately convinced that we will participate in a game tonight in which the outcome is completely uncertain..." sports are so stupid sometimes.

i'm sorry sports. i didn't mean it. please forgive me.

Friday, May 15, 2009

bulletin board

just got back from a week in OC/san diego. it was awesome. i could write all about how awesome it really was, but that seems like a lot of work. if you were there with me, then you know it was awesome in every way. if you weren't there, then why would you want to read about the awesome-ness of the trip? you would either be jealous and resentful, or bored (most likely the latter).

i don't have much energy to get into anything of real importance or substance, so instead i will make a few announcements and then send you on your way.

1) i considered titling this blog post "bulletin bored" instead of "bulletin board." i felt like i was being too clever for my own good though. i went conventional rather than trying to illicit some reaction from a title. let's face it - titles are completely unimportant. when i'm reading, i skip over any title or subheading. waste of my time.

2) i have expanded my "e-fluence" dramatically in the past week.

a) i'm on facebook now. let's just move quickly past this announcement and ignore the fact that i have swore i never would join and ridiculed the very existence of the site. i still don't get it, but i look forward to even more hours wasted on the internet.

related to this announcement, i would like to take the opportunity to announce that i am using extreme discretion in adding friends. i've already "denied" some people that would probably be upset if they realized that i said "no" to their "e-vances" (that is if people paid any attention to what they actually do on the internet, something that i seriously doubt). somehow i got up to more than 200 friends on myspace and i hated it. so i am going to be a snob and only use my facebook to commune with people i actually talk to. if i met you four years ago in some alley behind the albertsons next to my old house in san diego, and i haven't talked to you since - you don't stand a chance.

b) i'm on twitter.

c) my friends ethan, brian and taylor are also now on twitter. we all did it together. like a "blood brothers" kind of thing.

3) you'd think that spending a week in southern california would not include the highlights of joining two social networking "e-mmunities," but it is what it is. real highlights of the trip out west include:

a) good times with duane and amy. duane took me to some bar that featured at least four-dozen hand-crafted beers from across the nation and country. it was pretty much heaven. duane and amy have a backyard and their adorable little daughter plays in it for hours. i think they have a pretty good life.

b) game 6 of the stanley cup playoffs viewed from a suite. fights are the best part of hockey. the me lee that broke out at the end of the game was absolutely fantastic. the NHL has something here. all my dork friends out there play in some amateur hockey league and i have to admit that if i could ever learn to stand up straight on a pair of skates for longer than 3.5 seconds, i would love to play.

c) the taco guy is awesome.

d) heidi and i ate mexican food 6/7 days in california. i know, it should have been a perfect 7/7, but there were a thousand other places i wanted to eat at as well.

e) i am now officially on a diet/increased work-out routine as consequence for what i did to my body last week. i feel like i need to apologize:

dear body,

i'm sorry for the way i treated you last week. i know that you were excited about going to perfectly moderate weather and the possibility of swimming in pools and oceans. i know that you were tricked into thinking that california is a mecca for healthy eating options and that you would be treated well out there. i'm sorry that i crushed your ribs when i fell off the treadmill. i'm sorry for eating del taco at two in the morning. i'm sorry for eating four-five meals a day instead of the usual three. i'm sorry for the shots of tequila that i took at brian's party. you know i don't normally do that to you, and i'm truly thankful that you didn't punish me for my poor decisions. i apologize for going with the double-double rather than just the single at in-and-out... that was unnecessary. i'm sorry for putting you through "p90x," that was silly. i'm sorry about the booze. you deserve better.



f) southern california is the promised land. there is no doubt about it and anybody who disagrees is an idiot.

4) i remembered today why i always run early in the morning. not only is it hot-as-hell in the afternoon, but you have to put up with stupid boys yelling things like "break a sweat," "work it," "run forest run" and "your dog is running faster than you" (i actually liked the last one). in my old age, i am getting less and less patient, especially with pubescent boys who are trying to convince misguided girls to make out with them. i'm getting to that point in my life where i just won't put up with it anymore. these kids are going to get a piece of my mind and i hope to make every one of them cry.

5) the hardest part of coming home from vacation is trying to catch up on all that i missed in the past week. i'm listening to 5-day old bill simmons podcasts and reading week-old articles about stuff that is already way-old news. i can't waste anymore time writing this blog because i have to update my twitter/facebook and check out what peter king wrote about five days ago.

Sunday, May 3, 2009


alex rodriguez is screwed.

forget the fact that when i read the story the other day that i literally spit my coffee out on the computer because i learned that his teammates called him b**** t**s (that's how it was published on and i think it's funnier with the asterisks). forget that he only tips 15% to the hard-working ladies at hooters (who goes to hooters anyway? i've never been to a hooters, and have no desire whatsoever to change that).

forget that mr. rodriguez had pictures taken of him kissing himself in a mirror. forget the names "a-fraud" and "a-roid." don't get caught up with the stories of late nights with strippers and hookers and the relationship with the skeleton of madonna that destroyed his marriage. forget the fact that alex can't buy a hit in a crucial moment and will most likely forever be remembered as a "choke artist."

no player/figure/celebrity has been hated as much and been so polarizing since... well i guess barry bonds (and spencer and heidi from the hills), which wasn't all that long ago. everybody has something negative to say about arod. and every little detail that comes out about this man is scrutinized and debated to death. everybody gets to have a little "ha-ha" about the latest public snafu this man must endure.

the second entry i ever posted here was about roger clemens, and i'm pretty sure the same critiques and comments apply here. i know that every non-sports fan will read a post like this and immediately dismiss it as silly and unimportant. maybe it is, but i'm going to talk about it anyway. (if you want to read something actually worthwhile, read my wife's latest post about the swine flu. she's brilliant and much more intelligent/witty/prolific than i).

the thing that i find so fascinating about a story like this is the colossal collapse of a human being. i'm not trying to be demeaning here... i'm really not. i don't feel sorry for arod. it's hard to feel sorry for a 250-millionaire who gets to play a game for his career. but i feel like i can "feel" arod, or that i can understand him, at least in some small measure.

what does a white, 29 year-old, social worker from kentucky have in common with a billionaire baseball player?


more poignantly, that which is "most human" about humans.

i've been thinking a lot about idols lately. and how we all have/worship them.

i know what you're thinking: "idols? you mean like golden statues and weird shrines surrounded by incense?"

yeah... those idols, but also more.

whether you admit it or not (or even think about it) you've got idols. we all do. an idol is anything that you build your life on. an idol is anything that you place ultimate value on and in turn, will do anything to achieve/keep. an idol is whatever you worship.

now you are probably thinking: "worship? i don't go to church. this obviously doesn't apply."

that's not true. just as much as we all have idols, we all worship. worship is simply ascribing worth to something/someone. worship is enjoyment. worship is reflection.

some examples might help:

an idol might be: recognition, success, acceptance, admiration, comfort/security, fun, etc... notice that none of these things are bad. they're good things. idols can show up in the form of food and alcohol, fame, sex, relationships, money... again, notice that none of these things are bad.

but what happens when you spend your life pursuing these things? what happens when these things become ultimate to you? when you would do anything to get these things, and would do even more to keep them if there is threat of them being taken away.

i probably didn't explain all of that as well as i should, but let's return to alex rodriguez. it would appear that alex has some idols in his life. if he was in fact taking steroids as a teen, and giving opposing teams signs in order that they would hook him up when he needed some help, then it's obvious that this man would do anything to achieve success. fame. recognition. acceptance. wealth.

lot's of people are famous. many people are successful and recognized as great at whatever they do. but what will people do to attain this? how would you react if it was slipping away from you? barry bonds had this happen, but he didn't give a rip. he had his own idols, but "being liked" was not at the top of the list.

not arod. bill simmons and others have influenced me to believe that the thing arod cares about most is how he is perceived. alex wants to be liked. we all do, but he's obsessed. he can't handle the criticism, the public scathing. i'm sure alex thinks to himself, "what have i done wrong? why am i treated like this? i'm a good guy. i give to the community. i show up for work each day and do my job. i don't commit crimes. i don't punch kittens... why this scrutiny?"

a couple of months ago, the castle/kingdom that arod built was under serious attack. it was leaked that he took steroids. this was a big deal, and alex decided to "come clean" and admit to using certain illegal substances during a certain time frame a long time ago. he apologized. he tried to cry. he asked for forgiveness and looked sincere.

all the while he was still protecting his idol. he was still worshiping at the altar of recognition and likability. like a cornered animal, he did what he had to in order to survive. this included telling "some" truth, but not coming completely clean.

i don't know if the latest reports are true. i don't know if it matters. as i stated at the beginning of this dirge, i'm not so much interested in the "arod is a cheating drug user" story as i am in the "arod is a human" story.

think about your life for a moment (i know i don't usually go here in the blog, but let me be serious for a bit). what are the things you care most about? where do your thoughts go to when you have time think? what do you spend most of your time doing? where do you spend your money? how do you react when you are rejected? deceived? disappointed by another? when you fail at something?

what will you do to achieve success, however you define it? where do you turn when life gets rough? how do you handle it all?

i don't like to be too honest and transparent, especially in the form of a blog, but whatever, i'll let you in on a little secret.

i have my own idols. recognition. i love to be liked. i love the fact that people like me. i love it when i am praised for the work i do. i love it when heidi says "thank you" when i've done the dishes or whatever. i love to feel wanted/needed. i like it when my friends say, "wish you were here...," or "the only thing missing was you...."

i knew that this was something true about me, but when my expectations aren't met... when i don't get the recognition i feel i deserve... when i feel slighted in some way by another... i get angry. if i feel like it's slipping away, i get afraid.

toddlers throw tantrums. so does justin.

i like to be liked. i guess i'm just like alex in this respect. so perhaps that's why i'm thinking about this whole thing so much.

i don't like arod. i never have. and i don't like him for the same reasons as everyone else. it's absolutely silly. i don't know him, but i don't like him because he's rich, seemingly arrogant, way to self-absorbed. (i guess when i say that i don't like arod, i mean to say that i'm not a fan of him. i'm not a fan of U2, john travolta, brett favre and many others. it comes out as hatred or strong dislike, but in reality, i just don't appreciate what they do).

so i'm not a fan of arod.

but i'm a little like arod.

and if you're honest with yourself, so are you.