Monday, November 30, 2009


When the sobered-up drunk or the bi-polar bear apologizes later, it doesn't obscure the fact that they may have said exactly what they are too inhibited to say, but actually think, when they are well/sober. Resentments expressed are never unexpressed or erased by an apology for their expression.

Saturday, November 28, 2009


In today's Thanksgiving encore excerpt - the discovery of America. Author Tony Horwitz muses on the discovery of America after hearing from a Plymouth Rock tour guide named Claire that the most common question from tourists was why the date etched on the rock was 1620 instead of 1492:

" 'People think Columbus dropped off the Pilgrims and sailed home.' Claire had to patiently explain that Columbus's landing and the Pilgrims' arrival occurred a thousand miles and 128 years apart. ...

"By the time the first English settled, other Europeans had already reached half of the forty-eight states that today make up the continental United States. One of the earliest arrivals was Giovanni da Verrazzano, who toured the Eastern Seaboard in 1524, almost a full century before the Pilgrims arrived. ... Even less remembered are the Portuguese pilots who steered Spanish ships along both coasts of the continent in the sixteenth century, probing upriver to Bangor, Maine, and all the way to Oregon. ... In 1542, Spanish conquistadors completed a reconnaissance of the continent's interior: scaling the Appalachians, rafting the Mississippi, peering down the Grand Canyon, and galloping as far inland as central Kansas. ...

"The Spanish didn't just explore: they settled, from the Rio Grande to the Atlantic. Upon founding St. Augustine, the first European city on U.S. soil, the Spanish gave thanks and dined with Indians-fifty-six years before the Pilgrim Thanksgiving at Plymouth. ... Plymouth, it turned out, wasn't even the first English colony in New England. That distinction belonged to Fort St. George, in Popham, Maine. Nor were the Pilgrims the first to settle Massachusetts. In 1602, a band of English built a fort on the island of Cuttyhunk. They came, not for religious freedom, but to get rich from digging sassafras, a commodity prized in Europe as a cure for the clap. ...

"The Pilgrims, and later, the Americans who pushed west from the Atlantic, didn't pioneer a virgin wilderness. They occupied a land long since transformed by European contact. ... Samoset, the first Indian the Pilgrims met at Plymouth, greeted the settlers in English. The first thing he asked for was beer."

Tony Horwitz, A Voyage Long and Strange, Henry Holt, Copyright 2008 by Tony Horwitz, pp. 3-6.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


If you watched sports telecasts and had come from another culture (but comprehended English), you would think the word "athleticism" means "Black Guy".

In the last ten years, I've heard one announcer use the term in describing a White Guy. That was this year (Of course, it was in an SEC game.)

Before that? Well, can you say "John Havlicek?"

Even compliments can reflect racial biases.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


You don't mess with golfers' ammunition or with the Boy


For those of you scoring at home, I'm not Catholic. The difference between my church and the RC church is that the catholics make no pretense about being a 'Top Down" business model. My church is totally "Top Down" but they camouflage it sweetly by making us feel we play an important role in The Church's governance. It's a style thing.

But we Christians all have Communion. Communion is where we "come to" the Body and Blood of Christ. It's a physical sign that He has extended, and we have accepted, his sacrifice to gain us redemption. We all do the same thing. We have Communion. We embrace salvation and redemption. Then we go out and screw up again.....wash, rinse, repeat. Why? Because we're human and human beings are pretty much spiritual clods with the self-control of a gnat.

Unless I'm missing something, that makes the process of Communion that much more vital in "coming to" The Lord--because man is essentially incapable of sustained moral righteousness and needs constant exposure to his Redeemer. Are you following this? If you're not uncomfortable now, you don't get it. We'll have to put you into a slower group.

So what does "The Church" do with people who think "wrong"? Of course! It bans them from the one thing they need most to get closer to the The Savior, Communion. And who makes the decision to keep one imperfect man away from his Redeemer? Of course! Another imperfect man. How symmetrical! But it gets better.

Now, of course, there's a good reason for these "bans". It', er.......Well, it's not because they think "wrong" (Oh, no. That would be....uh, wrong). It's because it might upset the other worshipers. The Parish might become dyspeptic. Digression alert: Wasn't it Christ Hisownself who told the guy without sin to go ahead chuck the first brick or something like that?

So we don't ban you from communion, Mr. Kennedy or Mr. Durbin, because of what you think or how you vote. We ban you because you flunked the Congregation's purity test. In other words, an imperfect man who fundamentally requires communion is told by another imperfect man that he can't have communion and the REASON he can't have communion is that an unknown number of other imperfect men have communicated in some fashion to the second imperfect man that they will be imperfectly pissed off if the original imperfect man is allowed to approach the Body and Blood of the Redeemer. This is an endless loop of damnation for all of them, a plan guaranteed not to secure the desired result, the arrival at salvation for all of them.

Well, maybe this communion banishment thing is a first step away from "Top Down" management. Maybe that's useful. If it has any other useful result, I fail to see it.

Monday, November 23, 2009


Rex Grossman!

Sunday, November 22, 2009


The PGA Tour has suspended its first player for violation of its drug policy, presumably for using performance-enhancing drugs. The suspension is for one year.

Here's the punch line. The guy made it into one PGA Tour event and missed the cut. He made it into four Nationwide tour events (the minor league "developmental" tour), missed three cuts and was disqualified in the fourth. "Missed Cut" and "DQ" translate to "no check".

Not only will the guy go down in history as the first drug suspension in PGA Tour History but he will forever live in infamy as the user of the worst PED cocktail in the history of sport. Should have checked with Jose Canseco and read Ken Caminitti's book.

Counseling and something in retail that requires no hand-eye coordination are options.


I know roughly Jack Schitt about NASCAR but the way I understand it Johnson has to finish no worse than 25th to capture the cup and all that goes with it (major bucks at stake).

This reminds me of a guy trying to win the US Open in golf and just needing to three putt from fifty feet on the 18th green. It'd almost be easier if you knew you just had to make the damn thing! Do teams even have a strategy for finishing 25th? One nice way to wreck and not finish at all would be to be too cautious.

I don't know but finishing 25th as a goal. It sounds difficult.

Saturday, November 21, 2009


Do you think TCU is as good as UT?

Does it make you long for the days of the Southwest Conference? Earl Campbell, James Street, Steve Little, Doak Walker, Eric Dickerson, Darrell Royal, Frank Broyles. Come back! Come back!

Friday, November 20, 2009


Courteous, smart, skilled and on time.

8th and York. You host has had very good experience with them.

Thursday, November 19, 2009


Life, its ownself, often takes me to (Blago notwithstanding) our State's Capital City. WMAY 970 does a lot of trendy, cutesy talk but from six to seven M-F they have a talk show hosted by former Alderman Frank McNeil. He's kind, sort of folksy and certainly not slick but he's not afraid of any issue and really, really understands municipal government.

You can listen live on line. The guy's really interesting and promotes interesting calls by making his callers comfortable.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


The Act makes no distinction between a request from Francis Cardinal George and one from Osama bin Laden.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


The Illinois Attorney General is seeking a regulatory opinion on a drink mixing caffeine and alcohol here.

There is concern that this will be bad for young people. I sort of thought people under twenty-one weren't supposed to drink alcoholic beverages anyhow.

No word yet on how this will effect Cafe Royale or homemade Jolt and Grey Goose cocktails.

Also no word on the impact of this noble activity upon the 11-13 Billion dollar deficit our State currently carries.

Monday, November 16, 2009


The Mayan calendar runs out in 2012. Some folks interpret that to mean the world will end.

The most coherent explanation I have read is that the Mayan civilization collapsed under the weight of comprehensive cocaine addiction.

So we can choose to believe that a bunch of cokeheads are prescient about our future. Another option is to believe they were a bunch of cokeheads and started scoring and stopped calendaring. Until one of the Mayan Hierogliphs translates to "Sarah Palin," I'll take door number two.

Sunday, November 15, 2009


Even for "F&B" Fox News this was too hot. I'm pretty sure it was Linda used-to-work-for-NBC-used-to-have-cancer was on and declaring the female civilian police officer at Ft. Hood was not a hero because it appears her shots did not bring psych-psycho down. Even Fox had to flash a label Editorial Opinion.

The requirements for first-officer-on-the-scene in an active shooter scenario are a definition of heroic and this officer appears to have carried them out to as conceived. So she acted heroically.

If her shots were not center mass hits, is she not a heroine nonetheless? How many people did he not shoot because he turned around to engage her?

In this commentator's mind, this is all the Army's giant plot to show how qualified women are for combat and the officer was just doing her job, therefore no hero.

The firefighters who went up the stairs in the WTC did not carry anybody out. In fact the firefighters themselves died. No "direct hits." They are not heroes? Or maybe the Ft. Hood officer was not a heroine because she didn't die. Her bad. I guess she didn't get the "hero punchlist" memo.

Saturday, November 14, 2009


For years we had to listen to, "If man can go to the moon, then we can.......[fill in the blank]." It became one of the truly NoDoz requiring predicates in American Speech.

But fear not! That little beauty has now been replaced by "As we learned in Vietnam.....[fill in the blank]"

First, a lot of people didn't learn anything from Vietnam. Second, what the speaker is saying is really "What I'm about to say is my opinion, but I want to make it sound historic and scientific."

Military historians and guerilla activists already knew everything that could have been learned in Vietnam. Everybody learned a little something different from it, as is always the case of human experience.

Here are mine for a "war of choice". They don't have any predicate and they are based on a bit of experience and a good deal of study. No claim is made to any scientific or historic basis for them:

Define your objective clearly (What will victory look like?)

Make sure your assets are sufficient and reasonably assured of continuing.

Know what "normal" will look like after you achieve your objective.

Have a clear picture of how you transition from seeking the objective to maintaining "normal" (sometimes simplistically dubbed an "exit strategy").

Share the above four prongs with an expert who is likely to disagree with you and see if your vision holds up under encouraged criticism. (important footnote "expert" does not necessarily imply rank--some of the best intelligence wienies and tactical thinkers over time have been draftees.)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


To most folks a police call is a police call. An armed person in a public place is a real bad police call. Not so long ago, we handled all of these as "barricade/hostage" or "man with a gun" situations. They are not.

Since the Chechnian rebels in the Russian School, a couple of Postals and the odd McDonald's massacre, police protocols have changed. We no have a tactical category for this called "Active Shooter." (sounds so clinical) There is no time to wait for the ERT when the offender's only goal is administering death to randomly selected attendees at a gathering place. The first officers on the scenemust be their own ERT. There is little talking, no command post, not much technology and lots of jeopardy. The task is to stop the shooter (who is often more than willing to commit "suicide by cop") but the first officer on the scene is usually also a high value target for the recalcritant active shooter. A modern police officer knows that every day he or she serves, is a day they might be the first-on-scene at an active shooter incident. There is an implicit promise in every roll call, every turn of the key of that squad car when going on shift: "If I'm it, I'll perform."

Now the good news is that we create protocols for it. We practice it. We talk about it. We're not vaguely responding to "Man with a gun" calls. Most of the time, the officer will know a bit ahead of show time that it's an active shooter. Training can kick in and lives can be saved.

This is what happened at Ft. Hood. The two first-on-scenes were obviously well trained. The senior officer stayed back and on a different line and the young woman took the point. It would have been better if she had some cover, but there was none. She knew exactly what her duty was. She didn't have to be dispatched. She did not need a "fire" order from an on-scene commander. Thankfully, it wasn't her day to die. But maybe it wasn't her day to die because her department had practiced and made policy against the possibility of an active shooter, someday, somewhere on the base, somehow.

I just love good police work set up by good police leadership.

Sunday, November 08, 2009


I will forever love the University of Iowa and I'm sorry they lost yesterday but, that was not a "trap" game. NU is a talented, aggressive, smart and well coached football team who out-physicalled the Hawks. NU also exposed the one real weakness the Hawks had at the Backfield positions, they'd run out of depth. To call this a "trap" game is to minimize the effort of a mighty fine NU team.

Got mention from Stevie Dirt today. Thank you, I think. BTW, I'm actually in a Fantasy Sports 12 Step Program.

Yesterday, my broken foot and I spent the morning honoring my brother veterans in the parade and accepting the thanks of parade-goers for my own service. Last Night, I attended a fund-raiser for the Islamic Worship Center (If Gonzo were still AG, this would probably make me an "Enemy Combatant") here in Quincy. There is nothing inconsistent about these two activities. Two days after Ft. Hood, a large room full of Christians, Jews and Muslims shared a wonderful evening of food and fellowship. I was especially proud to be an American yesterday.

When Brown County H.S. gets over the pain of their elimination from their State Football Tourney run, I hope they can savor and enjoy their outstanding performance this season. They put their school on the map. One got the sense watching them that this was more than a talented bunch of kids. Somebody had put together a football-specific off season training plan and these kids had carried it out. They showed up ready to play ball from minute one. A credit to coaching and to the determination of the kids.

Saturday, November 07, 2009


First, Could we as a region and a community find some really meaningful way to honor the two guys who brought this thing back to our community after it was deader than Poor Frozen Teddy Ballgame for 35 years? Not just the brothers and sisters in arms, but our whole tri-state area owes these men an irredeemable debt of gratitute.

Second, hold the pissy letters about what band was there and what band couldn't be there and what it means and whose principal is more patriotic. It was a great day with terrific music. The short form is the participants and onlookers who wanted to be there, were there. That's pretty good. This train has left the station. In future years, more institutions will hop on board.

Third, hold the even more urinary griping about politicians and political action orgs being there. Folks, if you want to be an element of a parade honoring my service, Y'all come. I appreciate it. (Besides, I had some interesting chat with the Tea Party Ladies. I appreciate their patriotism and just hope it's possible to be patriotic without agreeing with all of their doctrine.) Candidates, TP'ers, Officeholders, Fuller Brush Men, Minstrels, Faith Healers. Get in line. As far as this vet is concerned, you're welcome.

Fourth, for those of you who called my name and said "Thank You" or those of you who just pointed at me and said "Thank You," it mattered. I got out when we were spat upon in airports. There weren't a lotta "Thank You's" then. Decades later Those "Thank You(s)" feel pretty good. If you brought your child or grandchild with you to show them it was proper to thank a vet for his/her service, double God Bless you. You're the gift that keeps on giving.

Friday, November 06, 2009


Eldrick Woods is probably the fifth greatest player in the history of golf and the second or third greatest American player. He's clearly the best player of his era. Because of that, a certain magazine pays him a large pile of currency to be a "playing editor".

I think "playing editor" means some guy ghost-writes a bunch of stuff for you, you allow your name to be placed on it and a direct deposit occurs.

In any event, a funny by-product of that has developed. A little more often than once a year Eldrick "discovers" a new way to hit a low, safe, accurate tee shot. The discoveries are always revolutionary and Eldrick's Ghost writer takes great care to say something like "This is way different from the last secret method I taught you back in (fill in the year)." Funny but to me they all have this in common: 1. Be the most talented player in the world; and 2. Hit it low and into the fairway.

Sure, Eldrick, I'll get right on that.

Thursday, November 05, 2009


Why would any Illinois employer, not required to do so by law, offer a separating employee a Severance Package/Severance Agreement?

I see from some other Web traffic that there are a number of experts on severance agreements out there, so this one should be easy.

I'll be back later today with the answer.

HINT: you won't find any clues in recent local news coverage.

Sunday, November 01, 2009


....folks who dislike real football but like touchdowns and short field goal attempts or people with Adult ADHD.

Geez, either watch football or don't!