Thursday, August 31, 2006

Compared to Last Year

Twelve posts (actually thirteen including this useless post) in the month of August during ten days versus one post in the middle of the month last year.

I'll mark that down as improvement.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Learning to Speak and Other Useful Skills 02

More than a year ago I mentioned some of the first words my boy, the Badda-Toddler, uttered. His vocabulary has since grown, and so has his sense of humor. He actually knows many words and can parrot back words and some phrases, sometimes bringing great trouble to Dad.

  • He says his prayers before eating, although he's more enthusiastic about the "Amen" at the end... like a Baptist preacher. (In fact, I sometimes carry on and say, "Can I get an Amen? Say it one mo' time for the Lord! Now give me a Hallelujah! Now give me one mo' Amen!")
  • Instead of saying "I" he typically says "my" as in, "My do it," or, "My want toys".
  • He clearly says "please", "thank you", and "you're welcome".
  • Not long ago he started saying, "I've got an idea!" When we're taking a drink he says, "Cheers!" (My wife just got him to say "Salud!" tonight.)
  • When we give him a bath and wash his hair he says he wants to kiss my hand where soap suds are (because of a perceived "owie") and say, "Eeeew, (spit, spit, spit) it takes like soap!"
  • When listening to the "Raiders March" from the Indiana Jones films he used to say, "Indy Andy Jones", but now he gets the name right or sometimes just says Jones.
  • When listening to the "Cars" soundtrack he says, "Real Gone" while listening to that song.
  • When "Route 66" plays he says, "Chuck Berry".
  • When he hears, "Friend in Me" from "Toy Story" he says, "Friend in Me"!
  • When he hears, "I Wouldn't Have Nothin' If I Didn't Have You" he says, "Mike and Sully"!
  • When he hears the beginning to John Williams march for the Superman theme he puts his hand to his ear and says, "What's that?" then follows up by saying, "It's Superman"!
  • When he hears the John Williams score for "Superman" for the hero sequence he asks, "What's going to happen to helicopter?" or about Lois Lane or if Superman will save them in time... or about the crooks by saying, "Will bad guys get away, Daddy?"
  • He'll sing along to some songs if you prompt him with a word or a short line like, "Chicka Chicka Boom Boom" or "Friend in Me" or "Old MacDonald" and one of the (many) songs on the various Thomas the Tank Engine DVDs called "Little Engines" (where he also adds the "toot toot!" in the chorus.)
  • Or when playing with his toys he will use words like crash, cars, trains, planes, bulldozer, motorcycle, oh no, ooops, more please, my turn, get it, vroom, zoom, wham, sorry... and when he makes a train noise he puts his fist in the air as if he were going to pull a cord and says, "chugga-chugga, whoo-whoooooo!" very enthusiastically.
The sort of baby/toddler stuff parents love... at least if it's your kid. (If it's someone else's kid it's trivia and common... if you don't have kids it's tedious.)

Tonight, he made me proud...

One of his toys is a very large, stuffed animal... although it is a dragon. It looks kind of like a dinosaur (with a tail and raised spines down his back), kind of like a dog (with large, floppy ears), and kind of like a teddy bear (with a big belly). Since he also has what look like dragon horns we figure he's a better dragon than anything else. He stands about 3'6"... and we call him Reagan the Dragon. The rhythm and rhyme work, and I'm sure it will eventually annoy some of our left-leaning, Earth muffin, time out parent friends.

The boy has called him Reagan and Reagan the Dragon for quite some time, but tonight my father-in-law and I joked that a big monster was coming... a huge ogre named Osha. (My father-in-law works with telephone cables and construction so he loved that gag.) Then the boy and I ran around trying to hide from Osha and the first thing he wanted to hide behind (with a huge grin on his face) was Reagan. When my father-in-law heard that Reagan the Dragon was going to protect us from Osha and that Reagan would smash Osha he got a big laugh out of it.

Oh, he also has been saying, "booze" for about two months. I'll tell you about that some other time.

Another Strib Smoke Story

Please tell me they are kidding.

Pam Louwagie (with contributions from Jill Burcum) crafted a fine example of Strib sing-song, storytelling. Start the piece off by introducing us to a couple… how nice. Reading the Strib is just like going to a party.

Here’s a tip. Try writing news instead of fluffing it up. (Just out of curiosity, I wonder if the writers and editors at the Strib know what a fluffer is? I caution my more mild mannered readers from Goggling the word fluffer… especially if they are trying to avoid pr0n searches.)

Skip the story and party guest approach to newspaper journalism for a moment, they also treat us to such storytelling words as hearth and embers, they use the mention neighborhood relationships cooling (ah, in a story about fires… genius), and they even get a quote from a guy who describes the problem as thorny. They actually use the phrase urban bonfire.

How effing cute.

Add to that, the editor (or whoever picked the slugline) used the word s’mores when they hardly play into the story at all… merely a destracting device to get everyone’s attention. (Perhaps White Devil/Ordinary, from the comment section at Anti-Strib, works for Target and the Strib!)

Perhaps Pam and Jill ought to move on from their jobs as news fluffers and jump into Americana fiction or children’s stories. There’s no shame in that career… and they seem to have the knack.

I could go on all day about the Strib. (You want proof, just check the Anti-Strib.) Let’s move on to the actual piece before I dedicate twelve ‘graphs before actually showing the slugline.
S'mores sweet, but what about smoke?
Some neighbors say air quality suffers as urban campfires grow in popularity.
Always with the smoke, these guys. Where theres smoke there’s a ban. At least with this neighborhood firepit story they seem to be ballanced on the subject. However, they wait until the fourth ‘graph to even get to the real conflict.
Complaints about smoke seeping into people's houses through open windows have wafted into city halls and fire departments. Some say neighbors are having fires too often or are burning materials they shouldn't, creating too much smoke.
Wafted into city hall! Ah-ha! Genius! Oscar Wilde, eat your heart out.

Sorry, I was once again sidetracked by such brilliance and wit… the likes I have narry seen for a fortnight. My ladies' wordsmithing eclipses even the Bard himself!

What a load of nonsense. However that nonsense can’t compete with the nonsense of the complaint. Fires that create too much smoke? What do you want, a city employee how measures the scent, volume, color, density, and frequency of smoke?
Cities have varying rules about "recreational fires," often involving the fire's size, wind speeds, what can be burned, how close it can burn to buildings and hours that the fires are allowed. Some cities require permits. Some will issue tickets if rules aren't being followed.
Uh, oh. I spoke too soon.
Edina resident Rick Hauser told the Edina City Council in July that frequent fires nearby were making life difficult for his family.

"Our house fills up with smoke," he told them. "An in-ground fire pit is too big for our neighborhood."

He suggested a host of changes, including limiting the frequency in which fires are allowed.
It looks like Rick is a lawyer. Surprised?

Just what we need, another hand-wringing, mamby-pamby, winge-filled, whiney-woo lawyer in Edina. (I’m all for lawyers and the legal system, I’m just not convinced they all work for interests other than their own and their “billable” hours.)

Tell you what, Rick. Here’s my advice. Start looking for the contractor who designed and built your house. You can probably sue them for not using windows to seal up those vast, yawning holes that riddle the walls of your home.

While you’re at it why not bill your neighbors for the cost of air freshener, fans, and fragrence-free odor-neutralizing incense. That might also rid your house of the unwanted smoke from your crack-pipe.
Minneapolis resident Lisa Nabbefeld said she isn't against back-yard fires altogether, but thinks they turn offensive when people burn green wood or other particularly smoky materials too often.
Offensive??? What’s this too smokey, too often business?
Nabbefeld said she talked with her fire-enthusiast neighbors about the smoke…
I bet that went well. That phrase reminds me of a gal that lived above me in St. Paul who had a lot of “concerns”. Oi gevalt, she had “issues”, too.
…but that only seemed to make things worse…
I’m not surprised!
…Then she eventually contacted authorities, and at one point they sent a giant fire truck to put out the fire, which had grown bigger than the city allows.
Uh, that doesn’t sound like a neighborhood fire, that sounds like an actual blaze. Of course, someone might have exaggerated. Hard to tell when our dilligent wordsmiths didn’t manage to find the other side of Nabbefeld’s story.

Besides, what could be better than the wodnerful smell of a roaring fire? Let me rephrase that. What could be better than the wonderful smell of a controlled, roaring fire? Better make that, what could be better than the wonderful smell of a controlled, roaring, intentional fire?

Wait. What could be better than the wonderful smell of a controlled, roaring, intentional, non-arson fire?

While her relationship with her neighbor has cooled, and that makes her sad, she said, the fires have continued. It's driven her to thoughts of selling her house.

"What a feeling of helplessness," she sighed. "If you forget to close your windows ... your house and your bedding and your carpet all reek of smoke."

Reek??? Feeling of helplessness???

These are the same people who don’t like you cutting your hard or using a weed-whip or a leaf blower for fear of the smell from the gas burning engine… not to mention the possibility of anyone with allergies to grass clippings. (Don’t most of those folks have crappy looking lawns that more closely resemble the untouched wild than a neighborhood yard?) These are the same people who don’t like city lights downtown at night in their neighborhood (and refuse to use curtains even at the expense of the company with the city lights).

Maybe Walter E. Williams was right. Go porcs!

Friday, August 25, 2006

Honey, It's Personal Sacrifice and Patriotic Duty!

They call it cross-promotion in the radio business, or at least they did in the part of Smalltown, America I was in (as short as that was).

This is a serious point about raising our kids (and having future kids) amid the on-going trouble in our world.

The world has always been dangerous. It just seems to have been simpler when we were younger for any number of reasons. Maybe the days of our Cold War youth were easier. Maybe not. Regardless, there never will be a perfect time for raising kids... and that might be the point. It will always get worse or at least it will always be difficult. Therefore, the sooner the better.

With that in mind, I take a serious point and get obnoxious. I'm so proud! ;)

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

First Impressions Can Tell a Lot

Obviously, first impressions miss details of many folks. However, they help make reliable guesses and provide a basis for initial interaction.

For example, I just saw a guy in the Downtown skyways walking about… something tells me he’s a little odd. Not lame, not an ass, not weird… just a little odd. He was dressed in a slightly ill-fitting grey suit. He wasn’t groomed very well, but not poorly. He carried a thin shopping bag under his arm, but inside his suit coat. He also bobbed a bit as he walked and slightly blocked folks by standing toward the middle of the escalator. Now I didn’t see his facial expressions, watch his eyes, hear his voice, see gestures, or anything else. Those factors can tell even more.

Another example, not long ago I met a guy with a small head, slightly poor posture, beady eyes, a nervous laugh (when he allowed himself to laugh), and often an intentionally blank and expressionless face. He occasionally answered questions with answers that didn’t provide enough information… leaving those involved guessing. (This might be a tactic or just a lack of social skills.) In fact, his conversations are so lacking in detail and are so vague that his comments, questions, and statements might easily get mistaken for hostility. Maybe he actually is hostile to some folks… or seeks to attack others in a conversation… or maybe he’s defensive… or maybe that is how he deals with subordinates.

In any event, the brief encounter left me thinking that this person is a prick… at least in some professional settings.

One more? Why not? I recently mentioned Mohrghaine Mother-Earth... truly one of the most obnoxious, socially handicapped, incompetent, female jerks that I have unfortunately encountered. Just thinking about her (and I use that assignation quite broadly) makes me want to shower with an industrial strength cleaners and sandpaper. The thought of her voice makes me want to destroy my ears. If I were to meet her ever again it would be 20 billion years too soon.

When a co-worker (or co-peon) introduced me to her my Spidey-Sense didn’t so much as tingle as quake. She was poorly groomed, poorly dressed, poorly mannered, poorly behaved, and acted like an aggressive, yet passive/aggressive, asshole.

From there it got worse.

This is why our parents often told us to look up and not down to the ground, to smile even when you are sad or angry, to pleasant and agreeable rather than difficult, to be nice to others in general.

After all, if someone is going to make a mistake on a first impression wouldn’t you rather be thought of as more polite or more pleasant than you really are as opposed to more obnoxious or more unbearable than you really are?

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Interesting Goings-On Today

From my many experiences in offices I know many tech departments get looked down-upon for their clearly stated procedures. Occasionally, these tech departments are actually less than stellar in performance and deserve a little scorn. This does not appear to be the case at my current post. Unfortunately, someone here is scoffing at the faceless department for their lack of work and effort. This person essentially demands and uses his title to get things moving… as opposed to actually making the proper request in a timely fashion (before you bring a new employee into the fold).

Not only that, there was a phone conversation going on via speaker-phone which consisted of fairly loud, curt, and gruff barks from one person. For all I know that’s how those conversations go, or the person who called screwed something up, or both people were annoyed at the situation… however, you are in a cube. Makes me want to say, “You’re beautiful when you’re angry.”

Like any number of places, folks sense a new guy… as well as a temp. Not many folks warm up to a guy who isn’t likely to be around very long. In theory, this is a temp-to-hire position… but I’ve heard that before. Also, I’m stepping into a position previously filled by a woman… bit of a shock to start seeing a guy with facial hair. (As she said, it makes a big change when you are used to seeing breasts.) I also pulled the plastic wrapping off from my bottled beverage… which is iced tea. I also dropped several ice cubes in… and now that they have melted a bit what you can see looks like the contents of a specimen bottle from an unfortunate Bolivian unicyclist.

All of this is hardly unique (other than the ice tea bottle half-full of a Bolivian unicyclist’s specimen). I’ve experienced much of this before. I’ve handled much worse. (Not that I've handled a Bolivian unicyclist or his specimen.)

Besides, the money's not bad... and Daddy's been holding back on DVDs.

At least this doesn't involve Mohrghaine Mother-Earth. Oi Gevalt. (Her face looks like it wore out two bodies.)

Monday, August 21, 2006

Nice Work if You Can Get it

Further blockades to blogging... work. Hey, not that I mind working. However, I suspect when I actually get a moment or two in the office the higher-ups might frown on such activities. At the very least I'll try to keep some kind of journal at work and e-mail it to myself so I can post it later.

Damn. This will really slow me down at Anti-Strib. Note to self: Must read Strib to find material to fisk. This shouldn't be hard to do. I normally get to work fairly early. If only I can find a free Star-Tribune.

My father-in-law wanted me to get a paper so we could start a fire... I said I might even have a hard time spending the money on the Strib in spite of the flame sacrifice.

Not only does work confound my blogging, but my schedule seems to have filled up. My father-in-law (mentioned previously) is staying with us, and he's good to talk to. We all went out this past weekend to watch "Cars"... the third time for me and the Badda-Toddler. He's a NASCAR guy, so he got a big kick out of the film. Once again the boy behaved wonderful... which children older than he whined, moped, talked, moved around, and generally made pains in the ass (pains in the asses, or maybe pain in the asses, or is that the collective ass?) of themselves. Chalk up another point to me and the Dutiful and Beautiful. (Whoo-hoo, wife! We're better parents!) We also met up with some friends and their daughter to see Thomas the Tank Engine in Stillwater.

Add to that friends who recently had their first child. Dutiful and Beautiful helps them out, as do I... although I quickly pointed out that any advice I give might only be 20% useful, considering this has all happened before. (They are great folks with fairly good heads fairly well screwed upon themselves with enough exposure to kids and experience with kids to be great parents... what do they need from me?)

Not only that, but I've made time to get out on Thursdays to support the Anti-Strib gang for trivia at Keegan's. Ahem... First Place three games running. That's the late game on Thursday August 10th, plus the early and late game on August 17th. We even tied for second during the early game on August 10th. Watch out Team Salem, we aim to give you a run for your money. (Speaking of which, I better cough up some cash to Tracy.)

Fairly good night yesterday watching Comedy Central's Roast of William Shatner. Although, whoever is in charge of Farrah Fawcett really ought to either up her dosage, cut her dosage, or return her to her ward. How was she ever a sex symbol? She's so creepy and dumb.

As if that were not enough, my friends regularly get together Fridays for role playing games... and for some time now I've been running their Cthulhu setting. (Yes, that makes me a total geek with dork frosting and a extra side of dweeb.) Last Friday we brought cheese and wine. I'm more of a cocktail guy, but I enjoyed a little Shiraz and a nice Cab-something-or-other... plus a delicious Danish Blue and a remarkable Stilton. In any case, it was a good time... soon, we'll cook more. Even sooner, the guys will visit an archeological dig in 1920s Scotland where a coven of witches wait to bring about the end of the world. (Like you do.) Must take more notes. Geek-a-geek-a-woo.

More important note to self: cholesterol is quite high... must lower from the 270s before November. Must. Start. Running. Walking. Panting. Sweating. (Attempts at convincing Dutiful & Beautiful that frequent vigorous sex works better as an aerobic exercise have not proven sucessful... but just wait until she hears my life depends on it! Ah-HA!)

What does vodka do for cholesterol? Lime juice? How about a nice mild cigar on the front lawn?

Tomorrow I bring Dean Martin with me to work... and Mark Knopfler. Probably Frank. Bobby Darin? Tony Bennet?

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Light Blogging

As if you couldn't tell.

My father-in-law arrived last week, and he's been working around the house with projects my wife and I need done... so I haven't been 'round the computer much. The upside is I've also tackled a few personal projects. I'm even starting to clean out my game closet and table. (Hmmm... eBay or Good Will?)

Oh, I've commented in a few posts at Anti-Strib and even put together a couple of posts there... but that's easier to do than creating a whole new post for myself. Most of the topics that spur me to write something have been the kind of material best suited for the Anti-Strib.

That said, the Dutiful and Beautiful wife received mail that begs for comments. It is a catalog of seminars for a women's spirituality conference. (That might even be womyn's spirituality.) I'm starting to read it over, so hopefully I can cook something up this weekend.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Cynthia McKinney: You Crazy

She played a song from Pink? And not just any song... a pandering, presumptuous, and extremely close-minded wank-fest. (You'd think that Cameron Diaz might have written it.)

You've got to hear this:
"...that are in this room tonight."

You might not be able to listen to the whole thing... and it goes on (and on) quite some time after Pink's insincere tune. She even suggests she lost due to a stolen election.

She crazy.

(I notice that her hair is back to normal and looks nice during her concession speach.)

Monday, August 07, 2006

T-Minus Three Hours and Counting

Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura: "He portrays himself and tries to call himself Mister Right. Minnesota's Mr. Right."

Vice President Al Gore: "Oh, is that right? Is that right? Well, I guess I'll have to inform myself."

President George H. W. Bush: "We've got a strong team... Jason Lewis, Jason Lewis, Jason Lewis... ready to contribute, ready to fight for what's best... for this country... Jason Lewis, Jason Lewis, Jason Lewis... Thank you, and God bless you... Jason Lewis, Jason Lewis, Jason Lewis.

"He rode a Blazing Saddle/
He wore a shining star/
His job to offer battle/
To bad men near and far.

He conquered fear and he conquered hate/
He turned our night into day/
He made a Blazing Saddle/
A torch to light the way."

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Straight From the Red Star

Yep... the 2:06 pm announcement on KSTP (with a special Joe and Pat version of Garage Logic, but won't air on other stations that carry Garage Logic) will involve the Twins and broadcast games.
...The team's radio rights will shift to the Hubbard-owned station in 2007...


The Twins and KSTP agreed on a four-year deal last month but were unable to announce it until today because of language in the current contract with WCCO. The length of the agreement means KSTP will be the Twins' radio partner for the first season in the new downtown Minneapolis ballpark in 2010.

Shows You What I Know

Looks like the more reliable speculation is that AM 1500 KSTP will be the new home of the Minnesota Twins on the radio. All the more reason to move Mischke back to the evening.

Take a look at the post at the Mischke Podcast:
A prediction:
Based on some clues on air and off in the last 24 hours, I am predicting that Tuesday, AM1500 will be announcing the station as the new radio home of the Minnesota Twins.

The clues:
1) At the end of Garage Logic Monday Joe told us that Tuesday's show would be a special show featuring Patrick Reusse for the entire 3.5 hours. Considering the man works every day of the week as it is, it's got to be something big to get him in studio for an entire show during the week.

2) This conversation in Monday's Mischke Broadcast:
Kenny Olson: "Twins vs. Rangers, 7:10, downtown Minneapolis."
Mischke: "On what station?"
Olson: "I'll tell you tomorrow..."

3) A KSTP Insider email arrived not long ago stating a MAJOR ANNOUNCEMENT for Tuesday at 2:06pm. Why, that's when Garage Logic starts. A Garage Logic featuring Patrick Reusse, sportswriting and huge baseball fan.


Still curious as to what's going to happen with the schedule in general. Obviously, KSTP hopes to compete with Jason Lewis on KTLK with a huge sports draw... but that season ends, and they need something when there isn't a game on during the season.

Suspicion: Moving Garage Logic?

First, let me start by saying this is pure conjecture on my part.

Now, let me show you what I saw in my this morning.
The AM1500 KSTP Insider
August 1st, 2006

Just a short note this morning, Insiders.

First, an embarrassing acknowledgement of a mistake from the last
Insider that some of you kindly pointed out to me... Joe Soucheray's
wunder-fix-it neighbor is "Mr. Unbelievable". I blew it. Let that be a lesson
on the risks of multi-tasking and the value of proof-reading before you
hit "Send".

This is called the "AM1500 KSTP Insider" because we try to give you
info as if you were inside our station. The MAJOR ANNOUNCEMENT being made
today at 2:06pm is not known by most-all of our staff, so you are the
same as if you worked here. Sorry, but a couple lawyers have advised us
to not disclose more until then.

By the way, the OFFICIAL announcement is only the beginning of an
entire Soucheray show that will be exclusive to AM1500 KSTP broadcast and
web stream only. The Garage Logic Network will get a "Best of GL".

Bob Davis returns Thursday morning. Covering his slot is Mike Brooks.
He is a former D.C. cop, federal anti-terrorist task force member,
airline security developer and has done reporting and commentating for CNN.

Good Luck during "Operation: Stay Cool."

Steve Konrad
Dir of Programming/Operations
am1500 KSTP "The Talk Station"

I heard Mike Brooks while driving to and from a couple of morning appointments. He signed off saying something to the effect of, "Thanks for welcoming me here"... which doesn't strike me as the sort of phrasing a substitute host would use.

I believe he's going to start hosting his own radio show during Soucheray's longtime Garage Logic slot.

Now, there's the possibility that KSTP will not use Mike Brooks as a new host... and instead they will use the disastrous choice of Sterling. If this is the case they are screwed.

I also believe KSTP will put up the only guns it has to battle Minnesota's Mr. Right, Jason Lewis on KTLK. (Lewis returns to Minnesota radio Monday August 7th at 5:00 pm. Whoo-hoo!)

I also believe Dave Thompson will get adjusted (only slightly) so his slot starts at 7:00 pm.

I also believe Mischke's going back to his rightful place... 10:00 pm to 12:00 pm.

There might be some other changes, or I might even be half-right about some of this conjecture... they might give another hour to Ron and Mark so Mike Brooks can have a two hour slot starting at 3:00... or perhaps they will end his slot at 4:00 and start Garage Logic early.

There is also the possibility that I'm WAY off on all of this.

I'm curious to hear what Mitch thinks.