Mar 31, 2008

Eric Gagne: The second "g" is not silent

When we're paying the guy $10 million a year, you'd sort of hope your new star closer doesn't blow a three run 9th inning lead against your most-hated rival in his Brewer debut.

Assuming Eric Gagne appears in 75 games this season, today's gagged save just cost the Brewers $133,333. But then who even knows if we'll get that many games out of him since there is always the possibly he'll get a suspension for (allegedly) enjoying an HGH daiquiri or three.

Anyway, congratulations to the Brewers for overcoming this latest bout of bullpen incompetence to both beat the Cubs and keep themselves on pace for 162-0.

And my condolences to northside suds-enthusiasts, as Wrigley Field won't be able to serve bottles of beer this season since the Cubs lost the opener. Zing!


E-mail sent to me during the 9th inning:

"After you blow a 3-0 lead in your first game as Brewer it might be a good idea to MOVE YOUR FAT ASS and cover first base on a ground ball hit deep down the line to your first baseman.

Oh, and tuck in your shirt, you fat frog. And shave off that stupid homeless man beard.

One more thing, start taking drugs again.

And one final note, I hate you."

Happy Birthday to the Old Man

Lifelong military man, lawyer, father of 5, husband of 38 years. My dad had done it all - until today, when he turns 60. Happy birthday, pops!

(Interesting side note - my dad was actually born the same day as Al Gore: March 31, 1948. Ironic, given that in giving birth to me, my dad has done more to pollute the planet than Al Gore has ever done in cleaning it up.)

Mar 30, 2008

The Post Has Spoken

"The Fix" at the Washington Post lists their top Wisconsin political blogs:

* Real Debate Wisconsin
* Widgerson Library & Pub
* Daily Takes

Who can argue with such a thorough, well-researched list?

Mar 27, 2008

Crazy Colleges Revisited

I got word from the Capitol today that my favorite annual governmental publication has been issued: the State Directory of Private Postsecondary Schools.

Two years ago, in my previous incarnation, I spent a lot of time going through this publication and describing the various private schools the state regulates. I just went back and read it, and I have to sheepishly admit that I think it's probably one of my best posts ever.

Have a look here.

Mature Audiences Only

At her Kansas City blog, my pal Christa made a point I had wanted to write about for a while. (In fact, I kind of did a little here.)

Her TV station aired a report about a controversial strip club siting that repeatedly called stripping "adult entertainment." So sayeth Dubill:

A typical adult could do any number of things for entertainment: basketball, knitting, cooking, reading, kayaking, thumb wrestling competitions...

So why does a business allowing strippers, selling unmentionables, upsetting neighbors and city leaders alike, become what we describe as "adult entertainment"?

She then goes on to quote "a guy" who e-mailed her with some more outstanding observations:

It just seems strange to me that the words we use for looking at naked women always equate maturity with prurient desires. In fact, it's the exact opposite. Think about it - movies targeted to "mature" audiences. Going to a "gentlemans' club." What is so mature or gentlemanly about stuffing dollar bills into a naked woman's garter?

In fact, I think it makes a lot more sense to consider those things "immature." I understand a teenage boy looking at pictures of naked women a lot more than I can understand a grown man doing the same. Then, it just gets a little...creepy.

As it turns out, that "guy" is me. I don't understand how we ascribe "maturity" to things that would be more befitting of teenage boys than adults. Are we teaching kids that being more "adult" means being less in control of our desires? If that were the case, wouldn't 80 year-olds be entitled to the best lap dances?

This controversy illustrates one of life's fundamental truths, which has been said about alcohol: Boobs are both the cause and solution to all the world's problems.

(I'm not sure how that relates to the rest of the post, but I thought it was funny to say out loud.)

Easter Bunny on a Rampage

Just watch the video.

911 Calls in Easter Bunny Incident Released

The Wisconsin Legislature's Putrid Present

My new commentary is up at WPRI - it deals with the Legislature's rush to get out of town without any kind of meaningful budget repair solution. And poop.

Read it here.

Mar 25, 2008

Killing Ten Minutes

A couple of epic Mr. Show clips to waste your time:

"McHutchence vs. Greeley III:"


"Civil War Re-Enactments"


How Did I Miss This?

While the media in Wisconsin continue to hyperventilate over Johnny Depp being in our state for two days, they are missing other major national stars passing through. Apparently, the remaining "Bret Michaels: Rock of Love II" contestants were in Milwaukee yesterday.

Steve Hyden of The Onion AV Club has the details:

Here’s how not to feel like a loser: Don’t hang out at a jewelry store on the edge of Milwaukee and wait nearly 30 minutes for three reality TV “stars” to show up for a meet and greet. Apparently, 99 percent of humanity already has learned this lesson, because I was joined by exactly six other people at Robert Haack Diamond Importers on Thursday to meet Ambre, Jessica, and Destiney. The trio was in town to appear at a series of promotional events culminating in a Rock Of Love bash at one of the preeminent meathead bars downtown. I hate crowds, so I opted to spend a few awkward moments at a sparsely attended, early afternoon event at a depressingly dingy diamond store. It was a perfect metaphor for the show, which pretends to be flashy and glamorous but in reality is kind of dirty and unseemly. Of my six compatriots, three were Robert Haack employees, one was a security guard, one was a slightly sheepish-looking dude in his 20s, and one was an excitable and unapologetic female fan in her 30s. When the girls finally rolled in for the 1 p.m. event at 1:30, Excitable Lady quickly pounced, her orgasmic glee barely concealed despite predicting just a few minutes earlier that Daisy would beat out these tramps for Bret Michaels’ affections.

How did I not know about this? My one chance at meeting REAL stars.

I would bet that after they left, sales of steel wool and Clorox went through the roof. Someone has to scrub this town clean.

Mar 24, 2008

Hell on Wheels

Okay, I'll make the back story quick:

About two months ago, I was picking pizzas up. I parked, went in the pizza place, and walked back into the parking lot, just as another car was backing up towards my car. As it got closer and closer, I dropped the pizzas and started yelling "stop!" Clearly, they didn't see my car, and backed right into the rear passenger side. There wasn't a lot of damage, but I called the cops and got an incident report just to be safe. Actually, I was most miffed that I was out 30 bucks worth of pizza, which was frozen solid by that point.

I called the woman's insurance company, and they told me she preferred to handle it out of pocket. It took me a while to get an estimate, and when I finally did, I found out a new bumper was going to cost $500. That's really not any surprise, because everyone knows that any time any body shop has to lay a finger on your car, it's going to be at least 3 hundo.

Which brings me today. I had delayed calling this woman back, because I dreaded breaking the bad news. As it turns out, my intuition turned out to be uncomfortably correct.

When I told her what the repairs would cost, she acted as if I was asking for ransom money in exchange for one of her children. At first, she called me an "opportunist" who goes around looking to rip people off. Clearly, she was on to my scheme, whereby I park my car at various pizza places and wait for it to be backed into. Jackpot!

Then it got weirder. When were were waiting for the police officer to arrive, I must have told her that I went to grad school at Marquette. On the phone today, she actually called me a "bad Catholic" for asking her to pay for the damage she caused. (As it turns out, I accidentally ate meat on Good Friday - but there's no way she could have known that.) For some reason, she saw fit to mention to me that she and her husband are both pro-life, which will only be relevant if one day she runs over a fetus crossing the road.

Then, she accused me of getting into another accident and trying to pin it on her. At this point, I was thoroughly amused. I spent eight years in the Legislature fielding angry constituent calls, so I pretty much just let people go when they want to vent. She asked what insurance company I had, and I told her I had Progressive. "Only bad drivers have Progressive," she said. "So I guess it's only good drivers that back into people's cars, then," I retorted.

There were many other puzzling accusations weaved throughout the conversation. But at the end of the call, I just told her that I'd be filing a claim with my insurance, and that was that. I don't care if the bumper costs $1 or $1,000, I just want a new bumper. I was thinking about selling my car soon, and a banged up bumper is going to cost me money, so I want it fixed. I actually would feel bad about asking them for money and not repairing the damage with it, so I absolutely will. But a small part of me now wants to get a check from them, then send them a picture of me giving a "thumbs up" with my brand new iPod and swim trunks.

So here's my "Springer's Final Thought" to this whole thing. If I had called her, and she thought the repair was too expensive but offered to work with me, I would have done so. I could have gotten another estimate or bargained a little. I realize $500 is a lot of money. But since she went nuts on me, I have absolutely no problem going after her for the full amount. She made it easy for me to file a claim against her with a clear conscience. Or, at least as much of a clear conscience a bad Catholic can have.

He Ain't Lyin' About Hillary

Interesting article in the Washington Post today about how Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama tend to overstate their role in certain legislative accomplishments. This certainly isn't anything new - in his book "Congress: The Electoral Connection," political scientist David Mayhew actually makes the case that "credit claiming" is one of the three most important roles of members of Congress. He defines "credit claiming" as "acting so as to generate a belief in a relevant political actor that one is personally responsible for causing the government, or some unit thereof, to do something that the actor considers desirable."

In any event, the Post article uses several sources to clarify the two senators' roles in the formulation of certain legislation (apparently, Arlen Specter has a lot of time on his hands to talk to Washington Post reporters.) Of course, when discussing Hillary Clinton's travel schedule, the Post goes to the only definitive source on Clinton travel:

Clinton also has her share of colleagues only too willing scrutinize her claims. Her campaign Web site describes Clinton's "successful effort to create" the popular State Children's Health Insurance Program during her husband's tenure in the White House, and she has placed herself in the middle of major international events, including the Northern Ireland peace process and the Balkan conflict.

But prominent Democratic senators, Irish historians and even Sinbad the comedian, who accompanied Clinton to Kosovo, are challenging some of her assertions.

Wait... what?

So the Post was like, "We think Hillary Clinton is full of it. Get Sinbad on the phone!" Was it Sinbad's role in "First Kid" that made him an expert on presidential travel?

For those still questioning the veracity of Sinbad's story, just remember - HE AIN'T LYIN!

Mar 22, 2008

It Comes Full Circle

Discussion with my 4-year old daughter while watching the Marquette-Stanford game:

Her: "Daddy, what's Stanford?"

Me: "It's a school that really smart people go to."

Her: "Like you?"

Me: "No, I couldn't get into Stanford."

Her: "That's because you're too silly."

So it is now official: My wife and I have given birth to my parents. My philosophy of "silliness" was a major talking point of theirs as I was going through high school, and now I still get speeches, just from my own kids.

As for the game itself, it's a pretty bitter pill to swallow when everyone in the arena can draw up Stanford's winning play and Tom Crean can't devise a defense to stop it. This ballbreaking final play was actually enough to get me on the treadmill, to burn off some frustration. I also needed to see if I still remembered how to walk after spending three straight days in a catatonic state. I think my wife snuck up and put a mirror up to my mouth a couple times to see if I was still breathing while the tourney was going on.

I also happened to notice that during the Marquette game, the Indiana Pacers were playing the Chicago Bulls. As you may know, former Marquette great Travis Diener plays for the Pacers. Now it just so happened that in the first half of the Pacers game, Diener dove into the stands and sustained an injury that forced him back into the locker room. Miraculously, Diener was back on the court in the second half, finishing out the Pacers' win. I'm sure it was purely coincidence that Diener just happened to be in the locker room for the end of the Marquette game - and I'm happy that that he healed so quickly from this devastating injury.

During this NCAA tournament, we also got to learn that Kyle Korver of the Utah Jazz has a brother named Klayton that plays for Drake and a brother named Kaleb who plays for Creighton. While I'm not a big fan of government intervention in family life, I would have no problem with calling social services on the type of parent who slaps their children with matching initials. We also got to learn that this father is one of the "most outstanding clergymen in the Midwest." How exactly do they determine this? Is he ahead of Jeremiah Wright? Did he get to the Sweet 16 in the "Midwest clergymen tournament?"

The most ubiquitous commercial during the tournament has to be the ridiculous DirecTV commercial featuring a hot babe trying to make signing up for satellite TV seem sexy. It's pretty over the top when she promises the "ultimate hookup." They should have just gone the extra step and had her discuss when they "plugged the cable into her box."

Oh, and congrats to the Badgers for their trip to the Sweet 16. Trevon Hughes had a huge game against Kansas State, who I thought might actually give them some trouble. I actually talked to Hughes at a bar once - a friend of mine mentioned to him that I was a basketball manager at Utah. He asked what year, and I said I started in 1993. "Oh. I was four years old," he said. I then spent the rest of the evening with my head in the oven.

I'm still wondering why they even play NBA games this weekend. The Badgers have now given me basketball fever, while the Bucks gave given me basketball syphilis.

Mar 21, 2008

The March to Humiliation

As of this writing, I am excited to announce that my 4 year-old daughter has now picked more NCAA tournament games correctly than I have. In fact, in today's afternoon action, she picked Davidson, Western Kentucky, and San Diego all to win. (She liked San Diego because they mention the San Diego zoo in her favorite movie, Madagascar. She also has them in the Final Four.) Her bracket is kind of hard to read, since she took the scoring marker I was using and drew flowers all over the sheet of paper.

Next year, I will be charging for her services. Oh, and did I mention I spent four years working for a major Division I men's basketball team?

Mar 18, 2008

The Johnny Depp Cultural Experience

Living in Wisconsin subjects all of our residents to the cultural push-and-pull our state thrusts upon us. On the one hand, we have time-tested rituals that we treat with reverence. Fish fries. Hay rides. Cows. Packer football. Many of these, although not all, are inextricably linked to the small-town, rural ethos found in the Dairy State.

On the other hand, while we all recognize these as sacred Wisconsin institutions, we aren't necessarily rushing to export these images of Wisconsin to the rest of the nation. We have a strong sensitivity to how we're portrayed nationally, and don't particularly take kindly to being branded as exclusively rural. Heck - most of the popularity of the UW's stem cell project is due to the fact that it proves to the rest of the nation that we don't live in houses with hay floors.

Then Johnny Depp showed up.

When news hit that a big-time Hollywood movie would be filming in Wisconsin, residents took it as a sign that Wisconsin had finally hit the big time. Hollywood had finally given us the stamp of cultural approval for which we so longed. Finally, we stand shoulder to shoulder with the biggest in popular entertainment and get to shed our image as corn-fed yokels.

Predictably, when "Public Enemies" began shooting in Columbus this week, it immediately reinforced our image as corn-fed yokels. Local news breathlessly lead off their broadcasts with news that Johnny Depp had arrived to free us of all of our feelings of cultural inadequacy. A young woman standing near the movie set breathlessly confided to a Madison television reporter that "this is the most exciting thing I have ever done in my entire life." The same TV station ran pictures of Depp taken by fans that appeared to be taken with the Hubble Telescope.

Not to be outdone, another channel interviewed a subtle young woman who indicated her desire to have the movie star plant a baby Depp in her womb upon visiting his trailer. (A "Depp charge," if you will.) A third station combed the crowd looking for the woman who had been waiting out in the cold for Depp the longest. In reality (and unbeknownst to the reporter), the report actually exposed the fact that Columbus currently has an 85% unemployment rate.

Now don't get me wrong - it certainly is exciting for the people of Columbus to have such a big event in their town. I can't imagine things would have been any different in any small town in America.

But the media have a responsibility to put this all in context for people. It's not as if Christ himself had descended upon South Central Wisconsin. (In fact, I believe he just retired from his job in Green Bay.) One of these days I fully expect to hear the local broadcast start out:

"Tonight, we'll have details on a virgin birth reported in Columbus, Wisconsin. But first, JOHNNY DEPP was here!"

Whatever credibility this film project was supposed to be giving Wisconsin is quickly being sucked away by the solipsistic media reporting it's drawing. Interesting that the truth about Wisconsin's dual identities is being exposed most clearly by a fake movie.

As a side note, the economy is on fire and you will likely be thrown out of your house in a couple months. Maybe you can call Johnny Depp to bail you out.

Man Bites Dog at the Journal Sentinel

First, a qualification - on the 1 to 10 outrage scale, this barely registers a "1." But it is interesting, nonetheless.

Today on his radio show and on his blog, Charlie Sykes was critical of a pro-Mike Gableman for Supreme Court advertisement. (I happen to share his sentiment, incidentally.) In his words, he decided to "throw a flag" on his own team for the inappropriateness of the ad.

Miraculously, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, who it appears goes out of its way to deny Sykes' existence, thinks this is newsworthy. On their "All Politics" blog, a mention of Sykes' position warranted its own posting. Funny that every time Sykes makes an outstanding point criticizing a Democrat, it disappears into the ether.

Now, I understand that there's a certain "man bites dog" element to a right-wing radio talk show host being critical of his own preferred candidate. But it is ironic that Sykes suddenly becomes so newsworthy when he's critical of a Republican.

It's a long, time-tested rule that if you happened to be a Republican looking for the media to cover you, all you have to do is criticize other Republicans. This is largely how John McCain became the media darling he currently is. You don't have to look too hard to find stories about anti-Iraq war Republicans, yet trying to find news articles about pro-war Democrats is like finding Eliot Spitzer in a monastery. People under 30 years old in Wisconsin only know who Bill Kraus and Lee Sherman Dreyfus are because of their infinite press appearances as "Republicans bashing Republicans."

Perhaps no dissent among Democrats exists on any issue. Maybe every single one thinks Louis Butler's equally baseless ads attacking Gableman are perfectly appropriate. But somehow, I'm not sure we'd be hearing as much from them if they did.

SIDE NOTE: The Journal Sentinel blog post was written by Stacy Forster, who is an outstanding reporter - and I am NOT alleging any kind of bias on her part. I just think it's interesting how this whole "Republicans criticizing Republicans" phenomenon fits into the larger picture.

Mar 17, 2008

SXSW Recap

The NPR music crew made their way down to Austin, Texas last weekend for the South by Southwest music festival. While down there, they managed to maintain a blog, as well as archiving some live shows, including R.E.M., Vampire Weekend, Yo La Tengo, Jens Lekman, and Eau Claire native (and current darling of the indie music scene) Bon Iver (A.K.A. Justin Vernon).

Definitely worth checking out. You're paying for it, might as well enjoy it.

Catering to the Eternal Fan

This ESPN story detailing the lengths to which "die-hard" fans are willing to go to be buried with their favorite teams is a must-see.

You're telling me a plot in a Packer Cemetery wouldn't be the hottest real estate in Green Bay?

The Bag Revolt

I am going on record as being 100% for this:

Note the look of irritation by Herb Kohl as fans stage a paper bag protest during last Saturday's Bucks-Celtics game. BrewHoop has the details:

On Friday we told you about a group of RealGMers' plan to wear paper bags during the Celtics game, and as the above picture suggests, they not only made it out to see the Bucks' 99-77 loss to the Celtics, but also managed to confront owner Herb Kohl near the end of the fourth quarter.

In sum, the bag revolutionaries totaled 39, certainly far fewer than what some previous fan demonstrations have mustered, but not surprising given it was organized over a closed message board. However, what they lacked in numbers they made up for in strategy (kudos to Dan for that). Shortly before tipoff and during halftime they paraded through the concourses to maximize exposure, led by Nowak's brilliantly subversive "Where Amazing Happens" sign, and after the game they stationed themselves by the escalators. They were seated in a block of 30 in the upper deck, so not surprisingly the television cameras managed to avoid them, though the group did make it onto the jumbotron briefly during a prize giveaway, forcing an abrupt cut to a different camera.

Calibrating The Obama Supporter Continuum

Recent revelations about Barack Obama's minister, Jeremiah Wright, have forced the political world to go back and re-calibrate the Obama-Meter to try to place his supporters in order of coherence. After a complicated mathematical formula was devised, the continuum now looks like this:

Mar 12, 2008

"I'll End Your Misery, Michigan"

I hear he has some bold ideas to solve overcrowding problems at nursing homes, homeless shelters and public schools.

Mar 11, 2008

The Chief Executive of Booty Enthusiasts

Outstanding article in the Washington Post today about the Eliot Spitzer revelations yesterday. Specifically, it describes the whole routine of having your wife stand next to you while you announce to the world that you pretty much hate your wife. As author Dana Milbank puts it, "Silda Wall Spitzer looked like a victim of food poisoning as she stood by her man's side."

As a pre-emptive strike, I told my wife that at some point in my life, I'd probably do something monumentally stupid. So she better get her glazed over "standing by my idiot husband at a press conference" look ready. She replied that I should probably get my "being chased around the house with a meat cleaver" look ready.

The article points out that on the night before Valentine's Day, Client 9 spent $4,300 and only used up two of his four allotted hours. All I know is, if I spend $4,300 on a prostitute and I get four hours, that hoochie better stick around and play Battleship with me for the remaining 3 hours and 58 minutes.

The article also mentions that Spitzer liked to do things that were considered "dangerous." Like what? Like sitting too close to the TV? Trying to figure out the recipe for McDonald's secret sauce?

All told, Spitzer is alleged to have spent up to $80,000 on prostitutes - an appalling sum. (Any prostitute service that costs that much better also provide sandwiches.) Appalling mostly because he's the Governor of New York for Christ's sake - he couldn't get any free booty on the side? What is the point of being famous if not for the hot side action? He missed out on all the fun of going around and offering hot chicks "a position on his staff." When you think about it, that whole "governing the state" thing really should have been a secondary goal in Spitzer's life.

More lurid details are coming to light which probably aren't worth mentioning. But if there's a lesson in all of this, it's this:

Spitzer spent his entire professional career trying to show everyone how much smarter he was than they were. And as a result, they're all going to come down on him like a house of bricks. It is ALWAYS in your best interest to have people think you're a lot dumber than you are, rather than vice versa. Nobody likes a know-it-all.

How Did I Miss This?

I was waiting to get my hair cut and reading an old Newsweek article about John McCain, when I came across this tidbit:

McCain does have a refreshing knack for reaching across the aisle. In 2004, he had a vodka drinking contest with Hillary Clinton on a Senate junket to Estonia.


Let's back up here. Hillary Clinton and John McCain sat down and went shot for shot? And this was documented somehow? How is this not major news? Who sponsored this junket? Smirnoff?

And how did this drinking contest not lead to Hillary cuddling in McCain's loving arms? (To the extent that McCain can actually bend his arms, anyway.) I'm literally speechless. Are they running for President of the U.S. or rush chair for the interfraternity council?

Incidentally, I am 100% for getting chicks drunk now being called "reaching across the aisle." In that case, I'd be the most bipartisan individual on the planet. I'd be the Joe Lieberman of horny college dudes. I was certainly not afraid of trying different parties - especially if the keg was empty at one of them.

Mar 10, 2008

The Cheese Express

My car was in the shop today, so I had to ride the cheese downtown to pick it up. In my high school's parlance, the bus was affectionately known as "the cheese," due to its aesthetically pleasing color palette. Anyone past 10th grade seen riding the bus was immediately labeled a "cheese jockey," which was akin to having an arm growing out of your nose.

Anyway, I found the ride to be reasonably enjoyable, although a little depressing. For some reason, nobody ever smiles on a bus. It's like everyone is waiting to hear the news from the doctor after their sister was just in a car accident. It seems whatever positive events that are going on in someone's life are immediately offset by the realization that they're riding the f'ing bus.

There was one fat, mustachioed guy talking on his bluetooth earpiece at an ear-splitting level. I honestly don't have whatever gene people possess that allows them to share their conversations with the rest of the public. If I get a cell phone call when a bunch of people are nearby, I fumble around and hang up quickly. I suppose if I got out of the house more, I'd "evolve" to the point that this didn't bother me.

I noticed a sign that said in order to get the discounted senior citizen rate, you had to show a photo ID. Somewhere, there's a crafty 78 year old guy running a black market fake ID ring out of his basement so 63 year olds can get the discounted rate. He likely accepts payment in cash or in primo bags of weed.

I spent most of the time trying to calculate how much money I would actually save by taking the bus downtown more often. Assuming a three hour trip down to, say, the UW campus, it would cost me three bucks to get there and back. If I drove there, I assumed it would take 2/3rds of a gallon of gas, so about 2 bucks worth. Plus, parking would be about 2 bucks. So I can save a dollar by taking the bus. Basically, I'm paying an extra dollar to avoid meeting someone on the cheese who's in a particularly "stabby" mood that day.

(I realize that taking the bus is more eco-friendly, but I have virtually eliminated my carbon footprint by wearing the same underwear all the time. The way I see it, Mother Nature owes me eight bucks.)

Incidentally, I am fully aware that this post sounds exceedingly condescending - like I'm Jane Goodall descending on bus riders to study them in their natural habitat. It's almost how the media report on Republicans - try to blend in, but don't get too close to one, because you never know what they might do. But it seems like the bus is a really good deal, especially for students, the elderly, and environmentalists who aren't bothered by the hundreds of empty buses running during the day.

Now, I just need someone to hook me up with the dude making IDs.

UPDATE: A friend reminds me of his favorite bus-related Craigslist listing ever...

Goin' Green

Sunday night, I happened just by chance to catch the preview of the show "Dumped" on BBC America. The premise of the show is thus: They take 11 people, tell them they're going to be on a reality show, then drop them off at a local landfill - where they have to live on the stuff in the dump for three weeks. They pitch it as an environmental show, meant to show how much stuff people throw away, and how it can be re-used. But, of course, everyone knows it's just a chance to see people digging around in the rancid chicken bones you threw away.

I have decided that this is a fantastic show, for the following reason:

The opening episode features a guy covered in tattoos who likes the feel of fresh underwear and socks. As a result, he buys new underwear and socks every day, then throws them away at the end of the day. That's right - he's throwing away 365 pair of underwear a year, which makes him, by the standards of this eco-friendly show, the most evil person alive.

I represent the opposite end of the spectrum. As my wife often points out, I hang on to underwear long past its prime. My boxers can only be pried out of my hands once there is nothing but an elastic waistband remaining - and retrieval usually has to be done by a Haz Mat team. So by this standard, I have now become a friend of the environment. My threadbare drawers are going to single-handedly eradicate global warming. (My wife would argue that most of my underwear "turned green" long ago. Heh.)

Anyway, it is interesting to see a reminder of how much trash we throw out in a day. One of these days, I'm going to set aside a weekend to figure out how to shoot all that crap into space in a cost-effective manner.

Support Appreciated

My son is going in for surgery on Tuesday morning to get those little tubes in his ears that supposedly prevent ear infections. I know it's a routine procedure, but find me a parent in America that's comfortable with their kid going under the knife for any reason. I mean, it is surgery, so I am mildly freaked.

Anyway, while you're praying for the collective souls of humankind, feel free to slip one in for my little guy.

UPDATE: Things went well, although he was pretty cranky afterwards. Nothing a little ice cream and Sesame Street couldn't fix. But thanks to everyone for your well wishes.

Mar 7, 2008

Favre Retirement Secret Uncovered

Well, we finally figured out why Brett Favre was crying so much at his retirement press conference: because he had heard I was going on TV to murder his legacy.

Here 'tis:

Some of this rhetoric may be familiar to this blog's readers, as I shamelessly ripped off a couple lines from a previous post. But this was really short notice, and I thought they were decent points, and... I'm not a machine. Wait - who am I arguing with here?

The late notice of me going on is actually demonstrated with the length of my hair, which appears to make my head lopsided. I look like I'm hosting a telethon for people who desperately need a haircut.

Mar 6, 2008

Wisconsin Unemployment Rises by One Quarterback

Well, the press conference is over, and it honestly bored me to tears. It's always been true that the press has been more in the tank for Brett Favre than even Barack Obama, but the questions they asked were appallingly lukewarm. They all went something like this:

"So, Brett - we heard you're retiring. What's up with that?"

Where were the questions about Big Irv? About what his feelings were about Packer management?

Then again, if I had a press pass, the questions would be along this line:

"Brett, it's Dennis York from the internet. What is it like being all-powerful and all-knowing? Can I give you a hug?"

I'm actually going to be doing my little Brett Favre song and dance on "Here and Now" Friday night. I'll post it here after it airs.

I went back and checked my blog's hit counter, and noticed that I actually got a few hits between 11:30 and 12:30 this afternoon. Every one of you that was reading my blog during Favre's press conference should be ashamed of yourselves.

Oh, and special thanks to the Sports Bubbler, which featured my post for two straight days. It is a fantastic site, and should be daily reading for Wisconsin sports fans.

Lastly, for an example of terrible writing, read "Dr. Z's" column at Sports Illustrated, where he argues "true greatness" eluded Favre. Perhaps holding every meaningful quarterbacking record in league history, being the only 3-time MVP, and going to two Super Bowls isn't enough for Dr. Z. Maybe he's thinking of all the other QBs who have done that.

Saving Us From the Horrors of Democracy

My new commentary is up at the WPRI website. It makes the case for electing judges, rather than moving towards a "merit" system as advocated by the Wisconsin State Journal and others.

You can read it here.

UPDATE: Apparently, Ed Garvey agrees with me. As a result, the chances of me being right just dropped by about 70%.

Mar 5, 2008

"The Onion Movie" Trailer


Mar 4, 2008

Farewell, Cheddar Jesus

And then he was gone.

As I was settling my two year-old son into his chair this morning, he looked up at me and asked, "Daddy, why are you crying?"

Sure, I wasn't exactly bawling, but I was surprised at how hard news of Brett Favre's retirement hit me - especially since we all knew this was coming soon. But at that point, looking at my son kind of got me choked up. In the broadest sense, we all want a better life for our children than we had. And I realized, all at once, that in terms of sports, he will never have it better that I did.

For 17 years, Green Bay has been the center of the NFL universe. Little Green Bay, whose total population couldn't fill up some college football stadiums, ruled the biggest sport in the greatest country on earth. And through it all, there has been only one constant, and it wore number four. He made us relevant and endeared us to the world. Not only does he hold every relevant quarterbacking record, he got there displaying an everydayman class that is shamefully missing in sports today. It is hard to conceive of a player that more thoroughly represents how the tough-living people of Wisconsin want to be portrayed to the rest of the country.

The last seventeen years has constituted my entire adult life. I've barely known life outside my parents' house without the presence of Brett Favre. Girlfriends, jobs, colleges, favorite bands, hairstyles - they have all come and gone. I've gotten married and had two kids - the me of 1992 wouldn't even recognize the me of today. Yet Favre has always been there. Brett Favre didn't care if I was a screw-up. He didn't judge me when I'd wake up without pants, not knowing where I was. His love for me was unconditional. And he proved it by showing up every week, every year. All that he asked was I cheer. And I did.

Most Packer fans would probably agree that Favre is as much a part as them as an actual body part. Losing him is like losing a losing a leg (or at least a kneecap.) If given a choice, who wouldn't rather have Brett Favre for 17 years than a large intestine? (I actually see no need for a large intestine to begin with - I don't really like to show off. I think the small one will do just fine.)

Naturally, any discussion of the Favre years has to deal with the down times. And certainly, there were a few. It's a miracle I have any hair left on my head after some of his unconscionable interceptions. His prima donna act every offseason grew tiresome, even if it was clear he was using his playing status as leverage for the Packers to improve the team with better personnel. And the way it ended, with him looking like a cold, broken, old man in the Giants playoff game, certainly served as a disappointing finish.

In Wisconsin, Packer football is the language spoken between fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, Democrats and Republicans. It is the one thing on which we can all agree, regardless of how fractured we may feel sometimes. It doesn't take a presidential candidate to bring us all together, it takes a quarterback. And Favre instigated more elated hugs between disparate groups than any program could ever seek to.

We all use windows to frame certain times of our lives, whether good or bad. There are your "high school years," or your "drinking years," or your "married years." Fortunately, Packer fans now have the "Favre Era" window on which to gaze. And it can never be taken away from any of us.

But for now, as Wayne Larivee would say, Favre has delivered his final dagger. As for my son and daughter, who knows what being a Packer fan holds for them in the future (no other jersey will ever be worn in this home.) As my boy looks at me today, he doesn't realize that he may be relegated to the status of a Houston Texans or an Arizona Cardinals fan from here out. He'll never taste the magical run we've all been a part of for nearly two decades.

Brett Favre isn't retiring, he's being amputated.

Mar 3, 2008

Breeding More Political Analysis

My 4-year old daughter's take on James Carville while watching "Meet the Press" yesterday:

Her: "He looks like he's the boss."

Me: "Why do you say that?"

Her: "He keeps telling everyone else what to do."

There are 20 year veterans of print journalism that can't put things that succinctly.

Mar 2, 2008

Don't Cry for Me, Cheddarsphere

It appears that I'm getting a lot of sympathy due to Jessica Alba's appearance in this orgasmic pro-Obama video. (See: Sykes and Shark and Shepherd)

While it's flattering to be recognized as the state's leading Albatist, (Albologist?) her support for Obama in no way changes things between us. In fact, had she shown up in a pro-McCain video, you may never have heard from me again, as I would have suffered a heart attack. After all, this is the woman who chose to star in "Good Luck Chuck" - is that supposed to be a sign of her judgment? As they always say, true love knows no ideology. Or stalking, for that matter.

Clearly, I think the thing with Jessica that gets overlooked the most is her impending virgin birth. I don't see any way she can be pregnant, since she has yet to respond to my hundreds of e-mails - many of which contain tastefully done photographs of me re-enacting scenes from "Three's Company."

It appears that my Mr. Furley scarves may have gone to waste.