Thursday, October 13, 2005


This picture is worth way more than a thousand words, and none of them good.


Now here's a boat the Minnesota Vikings would approve of.

While it is often said that a picture is worth a thousand words, this one can be summed up in just one:


This guy better keep moving or he's going to get a ticket.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005


Sorry, nothing immediately comes to mind.


Chicago passed an anti-panhandling law last year that - you guessed it smartypants - banned panhandling. The city-wide law was enacted to prevent people from aggressively suggesting you give them some money in exchange for them leaving you alone.

So if you're planning on moving to Chicago to open up your own panhandling franchise, here are the rules:

"No panhandling within 10 feet of a bus shelter or bus stop, a public transportation vehicle or facility, any vehicle parked on a public street or alley, a sidewalk cafe or restaurant, a gas station, or within 10 feet in any direction of an ATM machine, bank, or currency exchange."

So, basically you can only ask people for money if you're in the comfort of your own home. And if you've got a home, chances are you don't need to be asking people for money.

The fine for the first and second offenses within a 12-month period is $50. The fine for a third offense in a 12-month period is $100.

A $50 fine?!?! Do you know how much panhandling a panhandler would have to do to pay a $50 fine? That’s like a whole day’s work! And what happens when they don't pay the fine? Does the city send out a warning notice to an address that doesn't exist? These people are homeless - they're not going to pay fines. The city ought to stick a broom in their hands and tell them if they want to ask people for money, they'd better be sweeping up the sidewalks while they're doing it.


Did you see the news today??

Vikings Allegedly Had Sex Party on Boats

Holy friggin' crap! Finally, some news worth printing.

And then I started reading the article and realized they were talking about the MINNESOTA Vikings. Yeah - those FAKE Vikings who claim to play football. I thought this was going to be some big historical revelation about how rowdy ancient Scandinavians used to host the best orgies in the new world. Now THAT would have made for a story.

Instead, I'm wading through the details of a 90-minute "team event" cruise during which there were drugs and live sex acts performed on football players. Where's the news in THAT? Sound the alarms - professional athletes practice infidelity on the open sea. Big fucking whoop. I'll tell you what a real story would be:

Team of Computer Engineers at M.I.T. Board Wrong Boat, Score Repeatedly

These are NFL players we're talking about here. Infidelity is in their contract. They HAVE to accept illicit drugs and lap dances from prostitutes. Ask Michael Irvin or Lawrence Taylor - they'll tell you all about it.

Stereotypes exist for a reason - so people have something to live down to.


Oh boy are you kids in for some fun today! Yeeeeeeeee----ha!!!!

Don't ask me why, but I recently had to come up with a NASCAR quiz here at work. Sometimes my job can be borderline fun. Now...I'm NOT a NASCAR fan, but I did enjoy getting to know more about the fastest growing spectator sport in America. (Did you think it was extreme ironing? I did too.) Anyhow, most of you may only have a passing familiarity with the sport. In fact, I am going to assume this is the case by virtue of the fact you are able to read this. For the those of you wholly unaware that people can earn a living driving like cab drivers on a closed circuit track, NASCAR is that auto race where colorful cars whip around and around making a lot of left hand turns in front of tens of thousands of drunk good ole boys sporting mullets. Okay, that's not so true anymore. These days there are a lot of drunk good ole gals sporting mullets, too.

Start your engines,'s my NASCAR quiz. The answers can be seen by clicking on Comments below...

1.) Happy Hour is the nickname for:

a. The first practice of the season
b. The last practice session prior to race day
c. The celebration immediately following the race
d. The last hour of the Daytona 500
e. Ted Kennedy

2.) How many cars start each race?
a. 43
b. 47
c. 50
d. 27
e. None – they don’t start themselves, a driver must start them

3.) NASCAR racecars are equipped with 358 cubic inch engines that, unrestricted, can generate:
a. 550 horsepower.
b. 690 horsepower
c. 730 horsepower
d. Over 800 horsepower
e. A lot of bad press

4.) The temperature can approach ___ degrees inside the car during the race?
a. 100 degrees
b. 120 degrees
c. 140 degrees
d. 190 degrees
e. 6 degrees of separation

5.) A driver can lose what during the course of a race?
a. Feeling in both hands
b. Viscosity
c. 5-10 pounds
d. Sense of smell
e. Rectal virginity

6.) Why does a NASCAR vehicle have roof flaps?
a. For improved aerodynamics
b. To keep rain out of the vehicle
c. To prevent the car from rolling over
d. NASCAR vehicles don’t have roof flaps
e. Roof flaps are for sissies like Jeff Gordon

7.) A single NASCAR racecar tire weighs:
a. 50 pounds
b. 75 pounds
c. 100 pounds
d. 175 pounds
e. More than Star Jones

8.) Drafting creates:
a. Friction
b. A vacuum
c. Thermal displacement
d. Decelerative momentum
e. Fancy Blueprints

9.) The Restrictor Plate
a. Decreases horsepower
b. Decreases exhaust
c. Decreases risk of a rolling over
d. All of the above
e. Keeps Kirstie Alley away from the Cherry Danish

10.) During a race, the driver’s pulse:
a. Is elevated by 10%
b. Is at 85% of maximum
c. Remains unchanged
d. Fluctuates wildly from start to finish
e. Increases when the guest Crew Chief is Heidi Klum

11.) A driver’s helmet weighs around 3 pounds, but on banked turns, pulling between 2.5 and 5Gs, it feels:
a. Like 15 pounds
b. Weightless
c. Like 40 pounds
d. The same
e. Headless

12.) If a car’s windshield gets smeared with track debris or other cars' fluids during the race,
a. The driver completes the race as is
b. The driver pits to replace the windshield
c. The pit crew peels off the windshield’s outer layer
d. The pit crew uses a high-powered solution to clean it off
e. The driver uses a hand towel while he is driving to clear off a spot
13.) What is used to inflate the tires on a NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series racecar?
a. Good old-fashioned air
b. Hydrogen
c. Helium
d. Nitrogen
e. Hootie’s Blowfish

14.) How many laps does the typical driver usually go before making a pit stop?
a. 10
b. 60-65
c. 90-95
d. 120-125
e. Depends how many beers he had for breakfast

15. Many early NASCAR drivers learned their racing skills:
a. Running from the law as bootleggers
b. Driving cabs in New York City
c. As stunt drivers in Hollywood
d. Watching Smokey & the Bandit
e. Playing Pole Position

16. The fastest NASCAR track is:
a. Daytona International Speedway
b. The Brickyard
c. Talladega Superspeedway
d. Infineon Raceway
e. The one that really gets around, so to speak

17. The first NASCAR competition held outside the U.S. was in:
a. Mexico
b. Japan
c. Aruba
d. Canada
e. Texas

18. The closest finish in NASCAR history was when Ricky Craven beat Kurt Busch at Darlington on March 16, 2003. His margin of victory was just:
a. 2 seconds
b. .585 seconds
c. .002 seconds
d. .102 seconds
e. An illusion

Tuesday, October 11, 2005


The City of Chicago has got it all. We've got culture and dining and entertainment - even a corrupt mayor to wrap it all up in a shiny clean package. Hell, we've even got TWO baseball teams. Do you know how wickedly cool that is? Unless you live in New York or L.A., you couldn't possibly. Here's how it works.

In Chicago, when you are born, the hospital administrators ask your parents which team to put on your birth certificate, and from that day forward you are either a Cubs or White Sox fan. The choice is no more yours than the color of your eyes. For better or worse, I was born a Cubs fan...and sworn enemy to all those forced to support the White Stockings.

Local sports radio over the years has made a big deal over the marked difference in the fanbases of the two Clubs, largely because the Cubs have no problem filling seats - even when they put a crap product on the field. The White Sox, on the other hand, have always had attendance issues, due in large part to the area they call home. Let's compare. The Cubs have charming Wrigley Field, a historical landmark nestled in amongst the 3-story brownstones of a bustling, residential North Side neighborhood - while the White Sox had Comiskey park (Now Cellular One Field) off of the Dan Ryan Expressway in an area of the city you wouldn't want to be caught alone in at night. Nevermind the team on the field, which stadium sounds like more fun on a Friday afternoon? I'll make this easy - the White Sox don't play on Friday afternoons.

The rivalry is real here, mostly because White Sox fans insist on hating Cubs fans for being, well, Cubs fans. Most Cubs fans could give two shits about the White Sox and don't really care one way or the other whether they win or lose. Sox fans on the other hand are always hoping something dreadful will befall their overprivileged northside counterparts. I have a lot of friends who are White Sox fans and I forgive them for hating me. It's been as central to their lives as their middle name.

This week, a mass e-mail got started amongst some friends because the White Sox made the playoffs and the Cubs, LOW and behold, did not. The gloating was surprisingly creative; one guy asked what time the Cubs game started tonight. Ouch. Then the argument was made that Cubs fans are a bunch of drunk yuppies and spoiled kids who don't care about baseball as much as they do getting a tan. While not entirely untrue, I took great offense. We were even called "fair weather" fans by another Sox junkie. Can you believe that? How do you call a Cubs fan "fair weathered"? That's like calling Richard Simmons straight. I needed to intervene and stop the madness. My contribution is posted below for those who have nothing better to do than read the types of things I take time out of my busy day to address.


Dear friends:

I don't think you well-intended gents disagree on what it means to be a "fair weather" fan - I think you're disagreeing on what it means to be a "fan."

I've been digging around online for a list of qualifications that make someone a fan, but haven't found one. So at a minimum let's agree that it's fair to say a "fan" must take pleasure in the success of "their" team. I'm sure we could come up with a more complete list, but most of us have jobs, and of those who do, some would like to keep them. So let's keep this simple.

Instead of there being a black and white definition of what it means to be a fan, it seems to me there are gradations of "fanity," and we all fall somewhere on that continuum, from vacuously vapid to wildly rabid. I know a lot of Sox fans who are hard core baseball junkies and watch every game. I also know more than a few who are casual fans - they like their Sox, but they're not going to lose sleep tonight if they lose. All teams have fans of varying degrees of fanaticism. That's how fanity works.

As for all this talk regarding the quality of the fans, this too seems to me to be a measure of fanity. As a Cubs "fan," I can and will admit that more than a few of the people with whom I share the bleachers on gameday fall into the vapid category. They spend more time talking on their cell phones about the girl/guy they're meeting at Murphy's after the game than paying attention to the on-field product. That said, I don't think the number is 60%. [As had been suggested by one Sox fan, and armchair statistician]. In fact, the majority of the people at the games I've been to this year were very much in tune with the on-field action, as well as the up-and-down drama that marked their season – an emotional rollercoaster that took us from optimism early to disappointment to hope to more disappointment. Sure, plenty of those cats couldn't tell you the ERA of every starter in the rotation, but given a few beers they cheer just as loud. My point is that there are some people who go to the game just to have fun – but as long as they're rooting for the Cubs when they're in there, that's fine by me. They're not hardcore fans. They're not fair-weather fans. Maybe we call them fans of opportunity. Regardless - they contribute to the energy and excitement of going to a Cubs game, and why the Cubs are so popular. It's like being proud of your college because it made Playboy's list of top party schools. It's not exactly something you ought to be proud of, but you are.

I would definitely say that more of the people at the Cell [Cellular One Ballpark] are what I would consider your harder core "fans." You'd almost HAVE to be to make up for the difference in atmosphere. But I guess that all depends what you go to the ballpark for. In addition to rooting for the Cubs, I also like laughing at stupid drunk people while sitting on a weather worn bench in front of a scoreboard you have to wind up like an old watch. There's something about the character of the ballpark that contributes to the appeal of the experience. I don't think the same can be said of Cellular One, which offers a markedly different experience. An experience I didn't mind so much, incidentally – I just wish it weren't so damn clean. I felt guilty dropping my peanut shells on the ground. I also didn't see nearly as many fights in the stands as I had been expecting. That was a bummer.

News Flash: The Cubs blew it again this year - didn't even come close to meeting expectations. And they'll sell a ton of tickets again next year regardless of the team they field for the simple fact that Wrigley Field is a fun place to spend the afternoon. I wish it weren't so fun so we could send a message to management that the team's success matters. On second thought, no I don't.

What would be the fun in that?


Is it okay to say "Bless Me" if you sneeze alone?


According to a new poll released by the Gallup organization, Americans now widely support interracial dating. Ahhh, nothing like the sweet smell of progress! Approval was most popular among those aged 18-29, with 95% of respondents indicating acceptance. This is particularly good news for Michael Jackson, who is now free to date himself without feeling like a complete freak.

Despite indicating a strong trend in favor of interracial dating, the poll did not show similar support for inter-species dating, which leaves Danny Bonaduce in a bind. An international consortium of top scientists remains unable to figure out what planet that guy is from. "Uranus" came up a number of times in initial discussions, but it turns out the scientists weren't talking about the planet.


Did you see this shit in Pakistan? 40,000 people feared dead from the massive earthquake over the weekend. Figures. Every time we have a massive natural disaster of some kind, some country somewhere has to one-up us with a something even more devastating. Sure, we'll get a handful of destructive twisters in the heartland...then there'll be a cyclone in Bangladesh. So then California will weather a crippling drought, widespread wildfires, and rolling blackouts - only to be outdone by a massive Tsunami. So then we finally think we got them with back-to-back hurricanes blasting the gulf coast - what could be worse than THAT? But NO - they whip up a catastrophic earthquake and just like that they're back on top again. How are we supposed to feel bad for ourselves when people are dying in numbers like that? 40,000 people DEAD. Holy Hiroshima, Batman!

And the timing was perfect. They waited until the whole Katrina/Rita thing was out of the news so people would conveniently forget that there are displaced Americans all over the country with no place to call home. Timely because now we can write them a big check in the name of friendship. I don't mean to make light of the situation over there - from what I've seen on television, it looks horrible. But so did/does New Orleans and surrounding communities. I just hate to see all that money going overseas when we desperately need it here. But that's not how imperialism works. When one of your global provinces has problems, you've got to loosen the purse-strings a little bit and throw some support their way. How else are we to find Osama Bin Missen without the support of Musharrif and company?

I just hope God takes a smoke break soon because all this devastation is getting expensive!


You know what steams me? People who still write checks at the grocery store. We’re closing in on 2006 here…get with the program, people! They’re called debit cards and they’re FREE if you have a checking account - which I'm assuming you do since you're writing a fucking check. Swipe it, hit your PIN, and get the hell out of my way! Nothing to fill out, sign, or record for your files. It’s all done automatically. Just take your receipt and go. You’re holding up the line with that archaic payment instrument. Or maybe I just need to grow some patience. Nah - it's more fun to bitch.

Here’s a little something else you should know. It’s better to sign for debit card purchases than it is to enter your PIN. When you enter your PIN, the funds are electronically transferred from your account to the merchant directly. That’s easy and that’s fine and that’s the whole idea behind using a debit card. BUT, if you ask to sign your receipt and use the “credit” option, the transaction goes through Visa first, which means you can earn rewards points (if you’ve got a rewards debit card like I do), and you’re given all of the purchase protections that come with using a Visa card, like Zero Liability fraud protection. That’s why I sign every time! Of course, merchants don’t want you to use your cards as Visa cards because every time you do, Visa gets a processing fee from the merchant. So a lot of stores won’t even let you choose the “credit” option once you’ve swiped what they detect is a debit card. Sneaky bastards! But for those stores that do - let 'em know you'd like to sign.

Just a little 411 from your friend who happens to do a lot of writing for Visa.