December 31, 2003

Slug Fest 2003

It begins New Year’s Eve. Other families go out, don their best, engage in New Year’s revelry at fancy parties with buffets and crab legs and fireworks and open bars. We do that here, at home. It begins with PS2 games around noon, and extends into the late New Year’s Eve bowl games in the afternoon and evening … games which, today, include my alma mater playing in the Liberty Bowl. Courses flow from the kitchen throughout, with Wife’s pigs-in-blankets being a highlight for the Utah game, with shrimp and filets to follow later in the evening, with beer, cigars, and later, the after-dinner drinks, all flowing with total disregard for personal health or well-being.

It will continue tomorrow with Slug Fest Proper, a state of mind more than anything else, in which we and all guests commit to a “fleece only” dress code and food and football throughout the day. We’ll start the New Year with mimosas, of course, and will switch quickly to other libations as the bowl games roll past.

Oh, and we gamble. As much as possible. At this moment, Wife, colleague JD, and I have bets going 11 different ways on the bowls … losers lose, the winner wins, and second place … that’s just another name for first loser.

While on the subject of the bowls, each year some parties have interest in my selections, which have, throughout the years, seemed to be money in the bank on more occasions than not. So here they are … and no promises that this year, the first with a public declaration, won’t also be the first where I puke all over myself and go 0 for 15.

Auburn -3

Minnesota -4

Utah -2

Missouri +2½

Colorado State -1

Iowa +3½

Maryland –3½

Georgia -3

So. Cal. –6½

Miami +1½

Oklahoma St. +2

Clemson +5

OSU +7

Tulsa +7½

LSU + 6½

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December 27, 2003

A Sick Sense Of Humor

That’s what the fates have: A SICK sense of humor. Poor Wife recovers from strep throat just in time for Christmas, and then comes down with a vicious attack of acute viral gastroenteritis, likely caused by this sick bastard, at last night’s Devils / Islanders game.

For the record: It’s cool to be led around in the bowels of Continental Arena, seeing where the players’ wives hang out, the medical area, the place the players dine before a game. It’s not cool for the reason for your tour to be an usher pulling you aside: “Sir … are you with the girl in the Devils jersey? She’s being taken to our medical unit …”

And so our weekend is one of care and illness. We’re to take vacation on Tuesday … she should recover fully by then, and with any luck, I won’t catch the damn thing myself.

I’ve propped her up enough to control the TiVo remote, and she’ll likely be asking for the iBook before long. If she does, she’ll check in here. So wish her well in the comments, will ya? She could use a smile.

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December 24, 2003

Thank You Cards

Hey … you: Stop a moment. Pause for just a second, and think of your holiday plans.

Planning something good?

Think of the family and friends around you.

Think of the hot meal you plan to eat tonight.

Think of the wine you will drink.

Think of the soft bed you’ll enjoy.

For many of you, think of how you will rise tomorrow and enjoy the celebration of gifts and joy, swaddled in pajamas, perhaps sitting by the fire, perhaps, if you’re like us, with a morning toddy to relax the holiday spirit.

Tomorrow, many of the people who rush into the breech to defend that way of life will enjoy none of those things. They will rise in a foreign land and foreign culture, far from family and friends, fresh from a military issue cot or bed roll, their last meal an MRE, their last drink from a canteen, and they will lower their helmet, raise their firearm to their shoulder, and begin the lookout for trouble.

Tomorrow, it does not much matter if you believe they should be there or be here. What matters is that they know you care. Click this link, send a soldier an email, and let them know someone is thinking of them, cares, and is thankful.

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Happy Birthday, Brother!

Having resurfaced from the end-of-year crunch, I note that my brother is a year older today. I think he always felt a little screwed, having a birthday on Christmas Eve. From my 10-years-younger perspective, though, I always thought was extra cool … imagine having your birthday surrounded by family, food, and frivolity WELL above and beyond that of the average celebration. So JR, what you saw as a liability, I saw as an asset.

So is the way of the world.

Regardless of perspectives, if you’re a reader who knows my brother (and yes … the biblical sense counts), wish him well in the comments. We won’t speak to how old he is, but know that however old that might be, he skis and lives with the vigor of men many years his junior.

Happy birthday, bro!

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December 16, 2003

Alive And Freezing

Bayonne didn't get me, and hello from Minneapolis, where it’s cold. Cold and windy. Gusty windy. Gusty, cold, windy, bitter, frigid cold.

They tell me that comparatively, it’s not that bad.

Saw this today … it seems my 15 minutes aren’t yet quite up.

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December 13, 2003

Let's Go Flyers

Blogging today from Princeton, NJ (webcam in the usual spot), where Wife and are are spending the weekend with her folks. Last night's entertainment was the Devils / Flyers game at the Meadowlands, and despite two courtesy junk goals in the first period, Wife's Devlis still couldn't defeat my league-leading Flyers.

But it's only December.

Tonight we're off to a holiday party in Bayonne … if you don't see a post by Sunday afternoon, call the FBI.

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December 08, 2003

It Was 23 Years Ago Today


Imagine there's no heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today…

Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace…

You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world…

You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will live as one

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December 07, 2003

Site Of The Day

The Urban Dictionary (via my poking around in the gray).

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Word Of The Day


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Today's Reading

Regression to the Mean and Football Wagers, by Marcus Lee and Gary Smith, Department of Economics, Pomona College.

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December 06, 2003

Shame, Shame

Consider these words from Army-Navy Game Tradition:

One of the most poignant moments in every game occurs after the final whistle when the two teams and the thousands of midshipmen and cadets in the stands stand at attention while the alma mater of each school is played by their respective bands. Win or lose, during those few moments players and students from both schools stand at attention in total respect for each other.

Many who are annual attendees declare that it is the most emotional moment of the day and one they would never miss. For those few moments, the final score is put aside and the camaraderie that connects the men and women in the blue coats and the gray coats is transcendent. It is something that lives forever.

Wife and I just watched this moment ourselves, and each year, we sit in silence as both teams exhibit true honor, class, and sportsmanship.

Compare it to these words from CBS SportsLine:

Normally, Florida and Florida State get the fight out of the way beforehand. Not this time.

Fights are nothing new in this bitter Sunshine State rivalry, but this one was different, in that it came after the game, not before. And it took police with pepper spray, not a bunch of coaches, to break it up.

No. 9 Florida State's 38-34 win over No. 11 Florida on Saturday was an emotional one, and when the Gators saw the Seminoles stomping on their `F' at midfield to celebrate, they took offense. Nor were they thrilled to see FSU players doing the Gator Chomp with a real gator jaw …

… In 1998, five players were ejected before the start of the game in Tallahassee including Florida's starting cornerback Tony George. During that dustup, Florida quarterback Doug Johnson fired a football toward Bowden, but missed.

The year before, they came close to a pregame fight, but a full-fledged rumble was avoided when officials steered riled-up players to their benches.

I could give a damn about his 340+ wins. What, exactly, is it that Bobby Bowden has to be proud of? Certainly not his graduation rate, which has averaged 53% since 1993 (and which was 40 percent in 1994). In the interest of fairness: I was unable to find grad rates for my Utes, but I can point to this with pride.

(Oh … and say what you will about Notre Dame, but know that they graduate 81%.)

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Yeah, What Would Brian Boytano Do?

In the holiday spirit, I give you the original South Park.

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Our Dog Kick Ass

Want proof? Download this video (note: it’s about a 4 meg file). For those who live in a low-bandwidth world, enjoy this view of Dog in the backyard, taken just moments ago.

The work of the day here is done … Wife and I returned from our Annual Christmas Tree hunt with a beautiful fir, have moved to hot rum cider toddies as pre-decoration libation, and are enjoying the splendor and tradition of Army / Navy.

Life is good. As my father would say, “Grab life by the throat and shake the shit out of it.”

Yep. The man’s a sage.

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Found this while poking around on Snopes:

Claim: Recent unusual geothermic and seismic activity in Yellowstone Park foretells a coming cataclysmic event in the area.

Status: Undetermined.

Seems there's nothing to worry about, but the full story is fascinating … read it here.

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Don't Know About You ...

… but my snow blower works just fine, thank you. And it’s a good thing, too, given the foot of snow on the ground. Last night was warm and cozy, and I even recorded this in hopes of starting a Friday Night Dance Party for Michele, but alas, dinner and DirecTV Pay-per-view interfered. This was much more true to the mood.

And this morning, after we rose to meet the new snow on the ground, I rose the ladder to clear the gutters and sweep snow from the roof so as not to have a repeat of last year's Ice Dam Fiasco. Dog, of course, thought the whole thing was fantastic, and in fact, she’s right. It’s beautiful here, and we’re comfortably ensconced in our cozy house, TiVo and PlayStation2 close at hand, and beer and Baileys to warm our middles.

We’re having a great day here, and hope you’re having one wherever you might be.

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December 05, 2003

Ummmm ...

If you can figure out what this is about, please let me know.

Oh … and it's snowing like hell in Philadelphia. Lots of warm fires and hot toddies for Wife and me tonight, you can be sure …

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December 03, 2003

Rummy Poetica

Visit The Poetry of D. H. Rumsfeld. My favorite:

Glass Box
You know, it's the old glass box at the—
At the gas station,
Where you're using those little things
Trying to pick up the prize,
And you can't find it.

And it's all these arms are going down in there,
And so you keep dropping it
And picking it up again and moving it,

Some of you are probably too young to remember those—
Those glass boxes,

But they used to have them
At all the gas stations
When I was a kid.

—Dec. 6, 2001, Department of Defense news briefing

Cross-posted here.

Posted by Avocare at 11:36 PM | TrackBack

Brightening Winter

Hello from Minneapolis, where the nights are increasingly long and brisk (although oddly, not as cold tonight as it is back home in Philly). People here start early with Christmas … yards and storefronts are already strung with lights and holly, Christmas trees shine through warm bay windows, and green-and-red sweaters abound. It’s an adaptive response, I think … breaking in deep and harsh winter with as long a burst of holiday warmth as possible, because God knows, January will soon be here.

But how can you stay warm this winter? There’s no warmth quite like that which comes from within, and nothing stokes that fire quite like giving. So in the spirit of the season: Click any (or all) of the links below, give something back, stoke the fire within, and be warm.

  • BluePack (provides blue backpacks filled with health and educational supplies to Afghan children)
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