May 30, 2008

U.S. Secretary of State Deploys Kiss Army to Iraq

It's official: Condoleezza Rice is whiter than me.

May 29, 2008

Brothas Keepin' it Real

You may have heard that I was on a TV show (primarily because I won't shut up about it) last week. One of my fellow panelists, Mikel Holt, also writes a column for the Milwaukee Community Journal, a paper targeted for Milwaukee's black community.

Last week, he wrote a wildly entertaining column that attempted to describe African American males' (or "the brothas," as Holt calls them) true feelings about black women. Holt interviewed pastors, barbers, and guys in clubs to come up with his observations - and they're all worth a read.

  • "The truth of the matter is, if you dress like a whore or hoochie mama, we assume you’re telling us only one thing: I’m available for a good time, but not for a long-term relationship." (Ed. Note - I much prefer hoochie mamas to whores.)
  • "(We) ain’t your baby’s daddy, or the last brother you dated!!! Don’t generalize about us, and definitely don’t compare us to the thug or sperm donor who broke your heart, or disappeared as soon as you announced your pregnancy. Why were you laying with a thug to begin with? Show some respect for yourself; you’re more than a sexual object; you’re more than a body."
  • "Sisters say they want a strong man, but engage in an ongoing war over who heads the household. I’m a pacifist. Why go through a life long war?"
  • "What’s the difference between a White woman and Black one? You can have an argument with a White woman and it ends at the front door. It may resume after work, but she will still kiss you and say have a nice day. A sister will follow you to work, push your boss out the way and cuss you out on your job. And then cuss you out again after you get fired."
Read the rest here.

Damn You, Gas Prices

I know I'm supposed to be all "Mr. Supply and Demand," and therefore impervious to gas price fluctuations, but I have finally reached my tipping point. Apparently, the road I use to get home from work has turned into the Tour de France with everyone now riding their bike. I had to drive 20 miles an hour the whole way while the Spandex Mafia hogged the road. This is simply unacceptable.

Generally, I live by the following rule: if you live close enough to your office that you can ride your bike to it, you're saving like three bucks a week by not driving. I will pay you three dollars (no matter what the street value) to stay out of the middle of the road on your bike, chatting it up with some woman who you're trying to fool into thinking you're an avid rider. If you refuse my offer, I will continue to furiously shake my fist at you from the comfort of my Ford Escape.

In the mean time, I will try to think of what a "Mr. Supply and Demand" mascot would actually look like.

Feminist Bookstore

May 26, 2008

Watch At Your Own Peril

Here's the video of my appearance this week on Sunday Insight with Charlie Sykes. Against my better judgment, I watched some of it. It appears the staff at WTMJ removed the footage of me and replaced it with film of a sumo wrestler with too much hair gel. I am never eating anything ever again. I am probably going to have to file zoning papers with the City of Madison to classify my chin as a structural addition.

Here's my summary
of what filming it was like.

May 25, 2008

What Being on TV is Like

Admit it – at some point, you’ve been sitting at home watching some talk show or game show, seen a guest on the show, and said “I can do better than that dope.” Then you start thinking about how everyone would love you if some network only gave you a chance to show how smart and charming you are on the air. Well, I’m here to say – it doesn’t quite work that way.

I got the call on Tuesday that Charlie Sykes wanted me to be a guest on his show that airs Sunday. The show tapes on Friday, so I’d have to drive from Madison to Milwaukee on Friday afternoon.

The second I agreed to it, I started feeling like I was having stomach ulcers. I was thinking this could be a complete disaster. If you ever wondered what TV would look like if they just dragged people off the street and asked them to be political commentators on television, this would be a good example. I started thinking of things I could say about whatever topic might come up (we don’t get the list of topics until Thursday afternoon, in case something late breaking happens.) I pieced together some stuff on Michelle Obama, Senator Roger Breske’s retirement, and other stuff. When I finally got the topic list, I started focusing on oil prices, Paul Ryan, and Michael McGee.

Now, I’ve been doing my little 90-second editorials on Wisconsin Public TV for over a year and a half now, but this was going to be entirely different. I’d have to make a statement, then have a follow-up response ready. I actually researched old shows to get a feel about what certain panelists might say about certain issues.

I got to the studio and met Jeff Fleming, Mykel Holt, and Ken Lamke. All were really nice guys, and welcomed me to the show. Lamke had actually heard of me, which kind of surprised me. We wandered over to the set, which seemed a little bigger than I thought it would be. Charlie took about 20 seconds to explain to me where to look at the camera, and reiterated that this show was as low-pressure as it gets. Of course, that may be true for the show’s regulars – once you have a track record of doing the show, you might be able to get away with making a mistake – but if you’re me, this show was going to be my first impression. And if I screwed up, people would think (or know, as the case may be) that I’m an idiot.

When the cameras started rolling and Charlie started talking, it suddenly turned completely surreal. I mean, here’s a show that I watch every week, with the same panelists I see on TV. And now, I’m sitting in one of the chairs, looking at these guys with the lights on. It’s almost like being in one of those exhibitions at Disney World that provide the “American Idol experience” or something. I was part of the “Sunday Insight” experience.

Right off the bat, Charlie came to me for a question. I immediately realized how hard this was going to be. I was trying hard to remember the quotes I had come up with beforehand. But your mouth starts moving, and you know words are coming out, but you can’t be entirely sure of what you’re saying. Your brain is thinking about everything other than what you’re saying. You catch a glimpse of yourself in the monitor out of the corner of your eye, and you think, mid-sentence, “can I possibly be that fat?” Right in the middle of one of my first points, it dawned on me that all four other guys on stage were staring right at me – and I stumbled over one of my points as a result. As I had predicted before the show, I was sweating like a whore in church.

We got through the oil price question, then the Paul Ryan topic, then moved on to the Michael McGee subject. This is where I bungled the question. In researching the topic beforehand, I couldn’t really think of anything else to say that hasn’t already been said about McGee. And when I’m writing, I think some of the best points I make are when I either look a couple steps ahead, or look back a few steps to figure out how we got here. I tried to do that with this topic, just to make an original point, and I flopped. I think it’s a reasonable question to ask how these inner city corruption cases are going to be handled under an Obama Department of Justice, especially since race tends to be a defense in many cases (as it will be in McGee’s.) But you only have about 15 seconds to make your case, and I stumbled doing so – and so by trying to make an original point, I ended up making one that just didn’t fit the discussion.

We finished up with the Winners and Losers section, and I think I did pretty well. My “losers” pick may have been a little more ribald than they’re used to, but I thought it was a funny topic, and it dealt with government. It spurred a lot of on-set discussion afterwards among the panelists, too.

While I was nervous before the show, I wasn’t nearly ready for the nervousness I would feel in the period between filming the show on Friday and Sunday when it aired. You go back and think about all the things you said and what you could have done better. It’s easy to be hard on yourself, because only you know all the great points that you were prepared to say, but didn’t get a chance to. (For instance, during the oil price discussion, I was wondering how Herb Kohl would feel about eliminating all the laws that keep milk prices artificially high. If we were paying as much per gallon for milk as we are for gas, he'd be the happiest guy alive.) You just have to cross your fingers that the audience actually likes the things you did actually get a chance to say.

I was actually surprised at how little time you actually have to make your points. The show is probably actually only 20 minutes of air time, and when you subtract the opening sequences, Winners and Losers, and Charlie’s questions, there’s probably about 15 minutes of actual discussion among the five panelists. And when you divide that among three topics, you get about a minute per issue to make all your points.

So, lessons learned. If I’m ever asked back, I should do a little better. (Some of my early Public Television appearances were beyond rough, but I got the hang of it.) Fortunately, I was able to alleviate my stomach ulcers with a delicious Kopp's cheeseburger on the way home.

When the show goes up online, I'll link to it here. But I'm not sure how long it will be before I'm actually able to watch it.

May 24, 2008

Beyond the Pale

With Memorial Day approaching, I happened to catch this press release issued on Friday by the Democratic Party of Wisconsin. Its title:

"John McCain Doesn't Support Wisconsin Troops and Veterans."

Honest to God - how dare they. Let me repeat - HOW DARE THEY.

When Rachel Strauch-Nelson (the contact person on the release) spends six years being beaten to within an inch of her life by the Vietnamese, then she may be qualified to even use the words "John McCain" in a press release. I understand that Barack Obama himself made this a talking point, but even he should be embarrassed about this ridiculous attack. It's even more embarrassing when it's made by a bunch of political hacks barely out of college.

In fact, here's veterans' affairs expert Strauch-Nelson herself (right), during her time working against the gay marriage constitutional amendment:

I've been in politics a long time, and I'm aware that a lot of these garbage press releases are written by 20-somethings looking to get a cheap press hit. But this is simply beyond the pale. If the Wisconsin Democratic Party wants to attack John McCain for his views on health care, or the environment, or whatever, then they are free to do so. But saying a former P.O.W. "doesn't care about veterans" is simply indefensible. And it speaks more about the staff at DPW than it does about John McCain.

(Side note: I love it when Democrats accuse McCain of being "weak on the economy." He's weak on the economy because he sides with the Democrats too often - such as when he opposed President Bush's tax cuts. But since he was attacked during the primary for being bad on the economy, liberals have picked up this talking point as their own - without realizing they're criticizing their own policies.)

May 23, 2008

Pork and Beans

Today Weezer released the video for their new song, "Pork and Beans." You'll probably recognize a lot of the guest stars from the internet - including "Chocolate Rain" guy.

May 22, 2008

Beware of Big Sausage

This weekend in Madison marks the return of Bratfest, hailed as the "world's largest sausage festival" by the organizers at Sentry. Every year, the festival raises thousands of dollars for charity by selling Johnsonville tube steaks.

This, however, doesn't please some people. From the "Community Comments" section of the Cap Times this morning:

lib05 says:

I strongly urge people to not participate in brat fest.

Johnsonville brats are served there. I know it is a Wisconsin company, but Johnsonville has membership on WMC board....remember those folks that unapologetically purchased our last two supreme court justice races?

Johnsonville endorsed the campaign tactics that have marred Wisconsin's reputation and labeled us as having unfair elections.......

Good grief. I suppose that guy is posting those comments using a computer made out of hemp and hugs.

May 21, 2008

Hitting the Airwaves

I have been invited to be a panelist on "Sunday Insight With Charlie Sykes" this Sunday morning.
Hopefully, there's no tradition requiring hazing for the new guy, like making me not wear pants or something. I'm pretty nervous about the whole deal, but I suppose it's better than not being on TV, right?

I have informed the producers that they may need to set aside three minutes at the end of the show for Charlie to publicly dis-invite me from ever participating in the show again.

May 20, 2008

Heat Seeker

Al Qaeda is on the march, but we're using our heat seeking aircraft to c-block this guy:

Naked pilot, flight attendant arrested in woods

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) -- An airline pilot was found hiding behind a shed wearing only flip-flops and a wristwatch as a nighttime romp in the woods with a flight attendant ended with both under arrest, police said.

Jeffrey Paul Bradford, 24, and Adrianna Grace Connor, 24, both employees of Pinnacle Airlines Inc., were at a diner on the outskirts of Harrisburg on Sunday night before they apparently decided to walk into the woods, police said.

"They told the officer they wanted to go do it in the woods, essentially," said Lower Swatara Township police Sgt. Richard Brandt. "That's the best answer they had."

The two somehow became separated, and people who live in the neighborhood summoned police around 9:30 p.m., saying they had seen a naked man and an intoxicated woman.

A helicopter with heat-seeking equipment was called in, and Bradford was discovered hiding behind a shed shortly before midnight.

"Uh, captain - I see two small blue objects in the infared."

May 19, 2008

Livin' in America

I'm laying down the marker right now - if I'm ever arrested for shooting a gun at my wife's car, there is a 100% chance that this is how I answer those charges:

This One's For the Ladies

My new column is up at the WPRI site. It attempts to explain why the number of female Republican legislators has plummeted in the past five years.

May 16, 2008

Brewers in the News

Last week, Sports Illustrated writer Lee Jenkins followed your Milwaukee Brewers around the country during their acrid road trip. The losing streak is chronicled in this excellent article, which includes a bizarre picture of Bob Uecker, shirtless and wearing uncomfortably small shorts:

May 15, 2008

Academic Excellence Personified

I've often made mention of how much I screwed off in college. My freshman year, the only real research I conducted was a detailed survey of the stores most likely to sell my roommate beer. (He had a fake ID, I did not.)

Given my current occupation, I got a kick out of this Virginia Tech report card I found from the second semester of my freshman year in 1992:

Check out the grade for "Intro to Government and Politics." Yep... that's not a misprint.

There actually is somewhat of an explanation. Virginia Tech had what they called the "freshman rule." Basically, your first year, you could take six credit hours and "freshman rule" them, meaning the grade would show up on your transcript, but the actual grades wouldn't be factored into your GPA. Thus, the zero points I got for Intro to Government didn't count against my otherwise stellar 2.15 grade point average. Basically, the class was too early in the morning, and I wasn't doing well in it anyway, so I just stopped going - knowing I could just freshman rule it. Not knowing, of course, that Government and Politics would one day become my profession.

Incidentally, following this semester, I dropped out of school for a semester and moved to Brookfield to build houses with my uncle. I was completely broke and my father (justifiably) refused to send me any more money, given the grades I was getting. It was at this point that I voted for the first time, for Russ Feingold and Bill Clinton.

May 14, 2008

Mama, I'm Coming Home

Well, here I am at the airport again. After three days of looking at nothing but unfamiliar faces, it’ll be nice to be home. Just another four-hour flight ahead of me, then an hour drive from Mitchell Airport back home in Madison. Rumor has it my son just got his first professional haircut, so I’m anxious to see how he’s doing with the 2-year old ladies given his new look.

I gave my speech to the big Washington Policy Center health care convention yesterday, and I think it went pretty well. They were interested in hearing about the now-defunct Healthy Wisconsin universal government health plan, since a similar bill is being considered in the Washington Legislature. About a half hour before I gave my speech, I tried to practice it in my room, and I couldn’t do it. I was having panic attacks, because I just couldn’t spit anything out. Surprisingly, hitting myself in the head repeatedly and swearing wasn’t having any effect.

When speech time came, I was introduced by author Grace-Marie Turner (an extraordinarily nice woman), who told the crowd of 320 that I was some kind of TV star, because my WPRI bio mentions the little monthly “Here and Now” segments that I do. Basically, she set the bar really high for the crowd, which freaked me out even more. I think the key to being a good public speaker isn’t necessarily what you say, but actually believing you’re worthy of people paying $90 to see you speak. I’m certainly not there yet. Now, if they wanted me to talk about the Brewers for a half hour, I could have put on a show – although at points, it may have been profane.

But when I actually started talking, for some reason, it actually went smoother than when I practiced it beforehand. I threw in some so-so jokes, although I have to humbly admit that they’re probably better jokes than one normally hears at a convention of free market health advocates. Make the bar low enough, and I can usually leap it. I even got applause for one line, which I completely didn’t expect. After the speech, it was bizarre – I couldn’t walk ten feet without someone coming up to talk to me about health care. This was flattering, but I’m terrible at meeting new people, and it kind of weirded me out when I realized that people were actually kind of angling to come up and talk to me. After a half hour, I went up to my room and put on a baseball hat and glasses, hoping nobody would recognize me. Seemed to work well enough. There’s a good movie to be made about some delusional guy who thinks he’s famous because he gives speeches at think tank conventions.

After the speech, I stuck around for a couple more speeches, then snuck back to my room. For some reason, the internet connection and TV in my room wouldn’t work. So my big evening in Seattle consisted of going to the Tukwila Cinema to see Iron Man (awesome), and reading a book in the hotel bar. I just sat and read and drank beer until the words got blurry and I couldn’t really understand what it meant anymore. But strangely, throughout the night, the book got a lot thinner.

Sitting next to me at the bar was a couple who it seemed were just getting to know each other. Both divorced, both with kids. It didn’t occur to me how difficult it would be to start dating again when you’re divorced with children. Just so many trap doors to fall into. As if dating itself isn’t hard enough – dating with kids involved is like playing dodgeball with land mines. You could just hear the weariness in their voices as they tried to circumvent any topics that might evoke some horrible memory of their past marriage. Then I ate a club sandwich.

This morning, I got up and went to a little known local restaurant known as Denny’s for breakfast. It shocked me to see that the French Toast Slam is now almost eight bucks. As if there aren’t enough reasons to hate ethanol, the fact that the Moons Over My Hammy now costs as much as my mortgage payment should be the final straw.

I had some time before my flight to do some more sightseeing, so I wandered around the UW (the other one) campus for a couple hours. Their campus is beautiful – the walkways are bathed in dark evergreens. It’s another dreary, rainy day, but it would almost seem like I’d be getting cheated if it were any other way. Today is election day for their student government, so the kids were out handing out fliers like crazy. I actually walked right past Lorenzo Romar, the men’s basketball coach. I stopped by the bookstore and bought T-shirts for myself and a friend of mine. They actually sell anti-George W. Bush paraphernalia in their university bookstore.

I got back to the airport with plenty of time to spare, which was a good thing, since security took a while. I went through the whole bizarre ritual of taking off your shoes and belt and pants, then having to put them all back on after the metal detector. (Oh, wait – you don’t have to take your pants off?) This whole kabuki dance is a sight to behold – dozens of people simultaneously putting their belts and shoes back on. It’s like the end of some horrible group one-night stand gone bad.

I browsed around the magazines in one of the gift shops, and wondered, as I always do, exactly who buys Penthouse to take on a plane with them? Who on Earth can’t do without porn for a whole two-hour flight? (Four hours, MAYBE.) But just as I was pondering how someone could logistically view a money shot on a crowded flight, I looked over at the register, and sure enough – there was a guy walking out of the store with a magazine promising “100 Naked Beauties.” He was clutching it to his chest, trying to obscure its contents, but you could tell. I guess these days, you should almost give the guy credit. At least he was embarrassed about buying porn in an airport gift shop – that almost counts as chivalry in 2008.

So that leaves me here, sitting in the airport, plane delayed. A couple Brewer hats sprinkle the crowd, so you can tell where this plane is headed without even looking at the board. They just called for pre-boarding for people with “special needs.” There’s a guy wearing a Cubs hat in front of me and I refrain from joking to him that he should board now.

May 13, 2008

Debating Campaign Finance

It appears WisconsinEye has posted the video of my debate with Senator Jon Erpenbach, Senator Mike Ellis and Gail Shea regarding campaign finance reform. Prepare to be scintillated as the audience skewers me.

Part One

Part Two

May 12, 2008

Feeling the Salt Air

I hopped right off the plane today and headed to downtown Seattle to see the sights. I was reluctant to go see the place where the people throw fish around, but a friend of mine insisted that was the place to be, so I decided I could handle being "touristy" and I went. After I saw all the markets, I just walked around downtown checking out restaurants and stores. Here are some fotografias:

Sadly, no fish went airborne while I was there.

Here's the Space Needle from First Street. This picture was taken right before someone who lives on First Street watered their window plants and dumped dirty water all over my head.

The two stadiums taxpayers just purchased the Seahawks and Mariners.

These parking meters had me completely confused. The problem wasn't parking downtown, it was figuring out how to pay to park.

Easy Street Records, where I was told I could get some good power-browsing in.

And, of course, no journey to Seattle would be complete without my quest to see the house Kurt Cobain killed himself in. Yes, I am aware of how lame this is. But I just had to do it.

The house is in an upscale lakefront neighborhood that's difficult to navigate, so I'm sure I looked like an idiot tourist driving around slowly. I'm pretty sure the neighbors have had it with morbid people like me. But I sucked it up and finally found the house, which, as you may expect, has high fences around the yard to block gawkers like me. Right next to the house, though, is a park that serves as a de facto vigil spot, where people still leave daily flowers on a bench:

For some reason, someone decided to leave a baby pacifier on the far end of the bench.

If you look closely, you can see a shout-out to Barack Obama on the back left side of the seat.

There's the top of the house. I think.

The evening wrapped up with a steak at Matt's in the Market, although the appeal of eating in a fancy restaurant is somewhat lessened when you're eating by yourself. I tried to explain to my waiter that I was in from out of town on business, but it was pretty clear he was ushering me out of there as soon as possible. I think the guy eating alone in the corner was depressing the rest of the customers.

Tonight will be comprised of getting my speech ready for tomorrow - a rockin' time, for sure. And there's a Taco Bell right next to the hotel, so the chances of a late night Grilled Stuft Burrito currently stand at 105%. I may even try to eat $10 worth of Taco Bell, a feat I still maintain is humanly impossible.

Go West, Young Man

So here I am at the airport, waiting for my flight to Seattle. I’m headed out there for a big health care conference sponsored by the Washington Policy Center. My boss asked me if I wanted to go, and I said “sure,” thinking I’d really like to see Seattle. Then the WPC called me and asked if I had any materials to go with the presentation I had been giving. “The WHAT?” I inquired. So it appears I will be giving a speech on health care to 300 people tomorrow, and I still have no idea what I’m going to say. I guess I’ll figure it out on the plane.

This actually is my first real “business” trip, so I’m pretty excited. I almost feel like a real businessman with a real job. From now on, when I see all those commercials meant to appeal to business travelers, I’ll feel like they’re talking to me. Then, I’ll be able to say things like “why, yes – as a business traveler, I do appreciate having that extra pillow in my hotel room,” and “how does the movie “Midget Lingerie Party” show up on my corporate card?”

Of course, I have about an hour to kill here, since I got to Mitchell Airport early enough. They say you need to be here 90 minutes ahead of time, but that’s a total airline scam. It’s just a ploy on behalf of the airlines to make sure they don’t get a last minute crush of people screaming at their employees about how they have to get on their flight or the world will end. My wife is super-cautious about getting to airports early. Anything less than four hours before departure time is unacceptable. Which is especially fun when you have kids to entertain in the airport before the flight.

I actually do like the weird vibe in airports. I especially enjoy sitting here and watching the flights arrive. People walk off the plane, all with the same completely disoriented look on their face. Before 9/11, they used to lock in on the person there to pick them up, but now they have to wait until the baggage claim to have their big reunion. I always loved seeing the pure joy in peoples’ faces as they recognized someone they hadn’t seen in a while, then rushed into their embrace. Perhaps this is because nobody is ever really all that excited to see me. Except my dentist, who knows that when he sees me, he’ll be able to afford another wing on his office.

Before I came to sit down, I ran to the bathroom. It’s always a weird sight to see pilots in the bathroom taking a whizz. You tend to put pilots up on a superhuman pedestal – almost like they’re invincible. But there they are, taking dead aim at the urinal cakes next to you. It’s unnerving to realize that pilots are just regular human beings. I mean, what if this guy just found out his 15 year-old daughter knew Roger Clemens? What if just this morning he found out his wife had been finding comfort in the arms of Charlie Villanueva during his flights? I’d feel a lot better about things if my pilot was eating gravel and urinating glass shards. I want a real bad ass flying my plane.

So now I get to sit here and wait, surveying the crowd. If there’s any inviolate rule in boarding a plane, it is this: There is always some semi-attractive member of the opposite sex waiting for the plane that you decide it wouldn’t be too bad to sit next to. Not “supermodel hot,” but “airport hot.” Of course, you are all old and gross and married, but let’s be honest – it would certainly make the flight moderately more tolerable, right? Upon surveying this crowd, it appears the only candidate happens to have a six year-old boy in tow. That immediately disqualifies her from sitting within five rows of me.

Waiting for a flight watching the people also gives me a chance to play America’s favorite new games: “Daughter or Lover,” and “Gay or European?” Of course, after I make my guess, I’ll never know the answer, so the only real prize is the giggling I get to do quietly to myself.

Well, time to board my 4-hour flight. I’m not sure if it qualifies, but maybe I’ll try to join the mile-high club while flying solo. That should kill about 30 seconds. Sadly, they make you pay 8 bucks to connect to the wireless internet here at the airport, so I’ll have to wait until I get to my hotel room to post this.

May 9, 2008

Five Grand the Easy Way

Before today, the easiest way to make $5,000 was to spend an hour with Eliot Spitzer. But now, NASA has created a new program to pay you five grand per month for you to... lie in bed (Spitzer-free.)

Here's the deal:

Need a break from the working, walking, and standing required by the demanding and stressful life you lead?

Well, pack your bags for Houston because NASA wants to pay you $17,000 to stay in bed for 90 straight days.

The bed-rest experiment, to take place in the Human Test Subject Facility of Johnson Space Center, is designed to allow scientists to study some of the effects of microgravity on the human body. We read on the Bed Rest Study website:

Participants will spend 90 days lying in bed, (except for limited times for specific tests) with their body slightly tilted downward (head down, feet up). Every day, they will be awake for 16 hours and lights out (asleep) for 8 hours.

Here's the important question: Do I get credit for time already served? If so, I'd be a millionaire.

Smiths Day

"Sheila, Take a Bow"

"There Is a Light That Never Goes Out"

"Girlfriend in a Coma"

And, of course, "How Soon is Now?"

And, as a bonus, here's Morrissey's "The More You Ignore Me, the Closer I Get," "Suedehead," "You're the One For Me, Fatty," and "Tomorrow." ("All I ask of you is one thing that you'll never do - just put your arms around me.") No payment necessary.

May 5, 2008

The Marital Order of Succession

Think about the thing you care for the most.  Now forget about your new HDTV and think about the thing you care about the second most.  That’s right – your family.  In the event something went terribly wrong, wouldn’t you like to have "family insurance," just like you have homeowners insurance on your flat screen?  Of course you would.  Read on to find out how your government can help. 

With a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage on the statewide ballot in 2006, the issue of state government’s role in the institution of marriage was at front and center in Wisconsin.  Some questioned why government has a role at all in marriage, which they argued is solely a religious institution. 

The bottom line is that government does have its greasy fingers in your marriage.  State law dictates how marriages are formed, how those marriages may be dissolved, and how the whole mess is sorted out when things go bad.  In fact, Wisconsin state law even prevents someone who is divorced from being remarried within 6 months of their divorce, presumably to protect people from the horrors of marrying you. 

Yet, there’s one area where government doesn’t help marriages nearly enough, which is why I’d like to propose a new law strengthening our households.  Think about what we do to insure ourselves against catastrophic events when they happen to individuals we love:  

We have a backup plan.   

The President has a Vice President.  The Packers have assistant coaches.  Ronald McDonald has Grimace.  That is why I am proposing the groundbreaking “Vice Wife” law. 

In the event something horrible happens to your spouse, wouldn’t it make perfect sense to have a backup at the ready to assume those duties?  If your wife were to be pummeled to death by a kangaroo at the zoo, would she really want you to suffer, alone and miserable, while having to take care of the rest of your family duties?  I know your wife, and I think not. Who would take care of the kids while you spent all your time in court suing the kangaroo?   

The law would work like this:  A husband could direct one single woman to be his Vice Wife, eligible to take over marital duties should his “primary” wife die horribly and unexpectedly.  

The rules are as follows:  

  • The Vice Wife has to be single; in the event the Vice Wife gets married to someone else, the standard sequence of the U.S. Constitution kicks in and the husband must marry Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. 
  • The Vice Wife has to agree to serve in this capacity – obviously, the husband can’t just pick anyone, regardless of how appealing that might be.  (I’d love to see Katherine Heigl’s face when she gets the call explaining she has to make me pancakes every morning.) 
  • The husband may not have any physical contact with the VW while his primary wife is still alive.  Any funny business with the Vice Wife is punishable by having to serve as the Brewers’ closer for the remainder of the season.                              
  • For taking part in the Vice Wife program, the VW gets to pay her taxes on May 15th instead of April 15th.  She also gets one small free Wendy’s Frosty per month. 
  • If you actually cause the death of your wife, you forfeit the ability to take part in the program.  (Chances are, your Vice Wife will be assigned to you by the Wisconsin penal system.)  If your Vice Wife is significantly hotter than your regular wife (as determined by me), you are presumed guilty in any and all circumstances where your wife dies of unnatural causes. 
Now, I realize the Legislature is out of session until next January.  But once lawmakers read this proposal, chances are they’re going to want to call a special session and bring everyone back into town to get this done.  I imagine there will be a lot of lights on in the Capitol late into the night finalizing the legal language on this groundbreaking new law. 

Of course, the only people that would oppose such a law are “pro-wife” groups, but they’re always nagging us to do things and we’ve all tuned them out anyway.  They can usually be dismissed with a wave and a grunt.  After all, this proposal is meant to strengthen the family by restoring order in a time of crisis.  Who would oppose such a thing?  Selfish, unreasonable wives, that’s who.

 Of course, this program could work for women, too.  Certainly my wife will need a warm body to hold the couch down to the floor and make sure all the oatmeal cream pies get eaten in the (now extremely likely) event of my demise. 

So here’s the plan of action, fatty: put down that gyro, print this column out, rush home, and explain the new plan to your wife.  It is likely she will immediately recognize that this proposal is what’s best for keeping your family strong in a time of crisis.  However, just in case she is too excited about this plan, you might want to make sure you have a sturdy protective cover over your lower abdomen and are wearing a football helmet.

May 4, 2008

Hey Derrick, Wanna Come Back? No Hard Feelings, Right?

I've had several hours to settle down since Eric GaHGHne* blew his FIFTH save this season, but I'm still steamin'. School isn't even out yet and the guy we're paying $10 MILLION A YEAR to throw one inning of shut-out ball once every three days is a disaster. Our man Derrick Turnbow is probably sitting at home right now organizing his sock drawer mumbling to himself, "I could be losing all those games for you guys at a third the price."

Anyway, Eric Gagne must pay for for his crime of attempted homicide of the Brewers' playoff hopes. In the spirit of the punishment fitting the crime, I submit that Eric Gagne:

a.) be mauled by a bear, but not fatally mauled.
b.) be trapped in an elevator for 41 hours.
c.) be forced to compose a handwritten letter of apology to one random Brewer fan for each save he blows. Enclosed in each letter will be a check for $1 million dollars. (At this rate, he's broke before the All-Star break.)
d.) give his healthy ACL to Yovani Gallardo. Gagne's removed ACL will be replaced with a discarded noodle found outside an Olive Garden.

Please vote or add your own idea. It'll make you feel better.

*("GaHGHne": copyrighted May 2008, Shuffhausen Industries)

May 2, 2008

Not a Real Post

I've been busy with a lot of work writing lately, so I haven't really had time to post anything here. Instead, I'll cheat and just post a couple videos.

Here's "Born Under a Bad Sign" by Richard Hawley, whose albums "Cole's Corner" and "Lady's Bridge" have completely taken over my life in the past few weeks. I cannot possibly give them a stronger recommendation.

Here's Hawley's "Tonight the Streets are Ours:"

And via Nick Schweitzer, the inevitable "what if our real lives were like Facebook?"