Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Invade Canada! Steal Healthcare!

The problem is that President Obama isn’t doing things the American Way. We the people need to wake him up and properly explain the job to him so he can start correcting his egregious mistakes. Some solutions are so simple that intelligent, Harvard-educated men like him just don’t see them. If he’d gone to Yale and spent some time in the Air National Guard, he’d be much better equipped to deal with this silly little heath care problem that faces our country.

When we didn’t have oil, did we sit on our asses and try to conjure it up by talking? NO! As the old saying goes, crap in one hand and wish in the other, then see which hand gets filled first. Well our President is wishing and wishing and wishing and he needs to start crapping or we’re going to elect Sarah Palin to do our pooping in 2012.

The answer is simple. We don’t have health care available to all of our citizens. Canada does. Solution: Invade Canada and steal their healthcare.

What are they going to do about it? The only resistance we’ll face is a few burly guys with hockey sticks yelling, “eh!” And not only that, but Canadians are far too polite resist us—and for crying out loud, a good portion of the country is French, we haven’t even invaded yet and they’re probably considering surrendering!

Granted, after we steal Canada’s health care, that will leave them with none. And that’s sad, but they’re Canadians, the only time they’ll notice is when they loose a tooth or two playing hockey but honestly, Canadians are like West Virginians in that missing a few teeth just means an elevated status within their borders!

Plus, it solves the whole Iraq problem too! Everyone wants our military out right now! No one cares about how that region will survive after we go. With all the alternative energy possibilities being explored, we really don’t need their oil anymore—so to hell with them! Our military has better things to do! Invade Canada!

Shock and Awe can be replaced with Eh and Aboot! We’ll invade, control the country within 24 hours, take all their health care and it’ll be over! Our exit strategy will be to shake the hands of the defeated Canadians and listen to all their well-wishes and no-hard-feelings speeches.

Granted, most Canadians complain about their healthcare system as well, but I have to think that if we take theirs and add it to ours, that has to be better right? Maybe they’ll be able to make some more, maybe they won’t. As a token of good will and neighborly friendship, we can even give them Detroit, including the Red Wings. It’s not like we use Detroit anymore anyway. They get another Original Six hockey team and we lose all those unemployed auto workers who helped cause this healthcare crisis in the first place! Two birds. One stone! Bam!

It’s time to start making this new president of ours accountable. It’s time to teach him the American Way. We aren’t the beacon on the hill because we wait around and hope things will get better! We take what makes us better from those who are weaker than us and then expect them to be grateful to us for it! And our friend’s to the north are the perfect victims for our current needs.

Sorry Canada. You’re going down. But hey! Detroit!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Memo to Fat NFL D-Linemen

Week 2 of the NFL season is in the books and there were a lot of good football games to be watched. However, a theme seemed to develop over the day and the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I’d been disturbed by this trend throughout the pre-season and last year as well.

Of course I’m talking about the disturbing trend of fat defensive linemen jumping, prancing, pirouetting and otherwise frolicking after sacking the opposing team’s quarterback. In the Bears game alone this past week, I had to endure the sight of wide-load Defensive Tackle Anthony Adams perform awkward ballet moves at least 3 times—and he didn’t even have any sacks!

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting that these guys start doing some kind of premeditated dance after making a good play. There is nothing more pretentious and phony than a previously thought-out celebration dance and it’s bad sportsmanship besides. And I’m all for expressing the exuberating feeling of accomplishment at making a good play. It is a game after all! But someone needs to tell the fat guys that there are just some things fat guys should never, ever do.

Chief among these things are skipping, performing spinning turns and doing that ballet move where you take a running leap, bringing one knee up and letting the opposite leg kick out in back of you completely straight—while placing one arm in front and the other in back. Actually, let’s just leave it at the fact that fat guys should not, under any circumstances, perform any maneuver that even closely resembles ballet.

I just don’t think the proper way to celebrate athletic accomplishment for a 350lb man should ever involve doing anything that some women do while wearing tutus. Call me old-fashioned, but I think a fist pump or a Hulk Hogan muscle pose works just fine with the added benefit of not appearing effeminate to the meathead opponents across the field who want to rip your head off.

Fat guys dancing in the NFL have simply gotten out of control. Retired NFL fat guy Warren Sapp goes on the Dancing with the Stars and all of the sudden each and every one of these Beluga’s is channeling his inner Baryshnikov! It’s got to stop! It’s just not fair to those of us watching to be subjected to this! Aside from Rerun on What’s Happening, America does not want or need to see fat men dance. It’s not pretty. If I want to watch that kind of undulating jiggle, I’ll make Jell-o!

It simply has to stop. It has to stop now. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell needs to step in and make a rule change. Fifteen-yard penalties should be assessed for Unnecessary use of Blubber. The NFL in recent seasons has gone out of it’s way to protect the health and long-term wellbeing of its players, but how about a little love for the fans now? My eyes will never be the same again! The image of that fat man flying through the air like Tinkerbelle her own damn self will haunt me at least the rest of this week and potentially the rest of this season.

Enough is enough. We all have our limitations in life. It’s nice that those fat guys can stand up and be role models for the rest of us who are chubularly challenged and show us that even fat guys can be athletes. They give us hope. But we’ll never be Olympic divers, we’ll never sit in coach, we’re not meant to try bungee jumping and under no circumstances, should we ever prance like ballerinas—especially not after grabbing another sweaty man forcefully, hugging him and jumping on top of him (not that there’s anything wrong with that).

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Dear Mike...

This is the email I sent my House Representative, Mike Quigley, today:


Please explain to me why yesterday, instead of working to fix our economy, dealing with the two wars we're fighting and figuring out a fair and all-encompassing health care system for our country, the House of Representatives spent their time playing party games?

Why is rebuking Joe Wilson more important than working to help your constituents? Is your party more important to you than us? If this is how you choose to spend your time, regardless of the politics of your next opponent, I think I would prefer them over you.

Nothing will ever get accomplished in Washington DC while petty party games are more important to you than the betterment of those whom you serve. Is your goal to serve us and better our lives sir, or is it to keep getting re-elected, take your paychecks and your amazing health care benefits and never actually DO anything?

I'm extremely disappointed in how the House spent it's time yesterday. I'm disappointed in you. I'm tired of party loyalty superseding loyalty to the people who elect you. You serve at our pleasure sir. It is my deep regret that so many of those whose pleasure you serve at are sheep who don't bother to demand better of you. It is my deep regret that you don't demand better of yourself and your peers.

I voted for you. Ultimately, the responsibility for your actions is my own. So, I'm disappointed in myself too. Through your actions yesterday, I let my country down, because I'm responsible for the seat you hold.

I certainly hope you choose to make me proud from this point forward. I hope that when your peers seek to play games and waste time, you will be vocal and loud and remind them that it is imperative to stay on target, that petty bickering must be put aside. I hope you remind your peers that back home in Chicago, people are losing jobs, people are going without adequate health care, people's sons and daughters are dying on foreign soil.

As the person who represents me in our government, that is my expectation for you. That is the charge I give you. When your peers go astray, I want to see Mike Quigley's name rebuking them for wasting time. I want to everyone to know that my representative will not sit idly by and allow such pettiness to take precedence over the issues. Every time something stupid like a rebuke comes up, I want to see your name in print calling out your peers for their foolishness. I want to hear the sound bytes of you standing up to them--even your own party--shaming them for putting party pride ahead of the people whom they represent.

If you want my vote again sir, that is the path to getting it. I have higher expectations for you in the future. I do hope you won't let me down.

You can go here, if you want to write your own.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


What do you do when the right thing to do, conflicts with…the right thing to do? This is the dilemma now faced by the Chicago Park District, the Chicago Bears and family of former Bears great Walter Payton. At first, when you hear the idea, it seems like a no-brainer. The Payton Family wishes to have a statue which is currently being sculpted, just outside of historic Soldier Field where Walter Payton spoiled and delighted Bears fans for years.

However, the Park District, which owns Soldier Field, has rebuffed the Payton’s and their supporters. They have done so respectfully, and regretfully—offering to place the statue in any other CPD park, but not at Soldier Field. The problem is that Soldier Field and the park-owned property around it, were dedicated to the memory of our nation’s soldiers. Bears legends like Dick Butkus, Mike Ditka, Gayle Sayers and George Halas do not have statues outside of Soldier Field for this very reason. There are places commemorating their achievements in the various concourses inside the stadium, but the field, and the park area around the stadium are expressly meant to be a memorial to veterans.

It’s easy to see each side of this issue. That Payton deserves a statue is beyond argument. He does. That it should be at Soldier Field seems to be the fitting location for such a monument. However, if that statue became the focal point for visitors to the stadium, which it surely would, then wouldn’t that be a bit of an insult to the Soldiers, Marines, Airmen, Seamen and Guardsmen to whom this stadium has been dedicated? Is it right to honor one at the risk of diminishing the honor of many others?

It would be sad to see the statue of Payton go up anywhere else. It would be sad to diminish, in any way, the sacrifices made by those who have honorably served our country. Payton is not a veteran. If he was, perhaps this would be a bit easier. Still, to see his statue at another park, or any other place in Chicago just wouldn’t seem right. Like Michael Jordan’s statue at the United Center, Payton’s statue belongs at the place the Bears call their home. It’s the fitting place.

And so the only solution that seems obvious is this: The Field Museum of Natural History is the neighbor of Soldier Field. Why not place the statue at the outermost limits of the Field Museum property, where fans trekking to Soldier Field will still be able to stop and admire the statue, while the ground that is sacred in it’s dedication to our veteran’s goes untouched? Certainly, Walter Payton is an important piece of Chicago history and in the history of our beloved Bears. He deserves to be placed near the place where he embodied the hard-working, never-quitting attitude of our blue collar city.

Payton’s statue deserves to overlook the place of his triumphs and conquests. Those to whom the stadium was dedicated deserve their respect and admiration. Compromise is the solution. The answer is simple. Time to step up and do the right thing—for both parties, who each, in their own way, are right and just and deserving.

Saturday, September 12, 2009


Two of my childhood heroes wore the number 23 on their uniforms. One of them was Ryne Sandberg of the Cubs. One was Michael Jordan of the Bulls. Ryno went into the baseball Hall of Fame a couple years back. MJ went into the basketball HOF last night. Ryno’s speech inspired, thrilled and pleased me. MJ’s left me feeling something I’d never felt for him before: pity.

That Michael Jordan is the best player to ever play the game is truly beyond argument. Just like no one will ever replace Babe Ruth as the titan of baseball, Michael Jordan climbed every mountain and swam every sea in a career that set him apart and above all others. He was the best that ever was and the best that ever will be. He proved that to us time and again. His legacy is safe and permanent.

He took the stage for his speech last night and spoke like perhaps he was the only one who wasn’t sure of that—the only one who didn’t know. Instead of showing the class and dignity that earned him global respect and admiration, he was petty and small in his words. His goal was clear: To remind the conquered of his place above them.

His speech was less a celebration that it was a reminder of what didn’t need to be said. His teammates barely received a mention. MJ was too focused on his enemies. Instead of spending time thanking and praising his own coaches, he spent time ridiculing those who thought they could stop him. Instead of thanking and praising his own teammates, he tweaked those he consistently defeated. Throughout his career he seemed—at least publically—to win with grace and dignity. On this night, he celebrated this victory with classlessness and prideful taunts.

It was always known that MJ talked trash on the court. Those who have played basketball know that’s simply part of the game. They also know that it’s put up or shut up. You have to earn the right to talk trash. Your words are empty unless you can back them up. The saddest part about this night was that Jordan, too old to back up his words, still defiantly acted like he could. Time stole from him the ability to do so. His speech was bitter. It wasn’t enough that in his prime, he was the best that ever was—it was all too evident that the fact that he couldn’t walk out on the floor and be the best today, even at this age, cuts him deeply.

You’d like the think that safe in the knowledge that you conquered all who challenged you, that you rose above all others to be the very best would bring with it a sense of peace, a bit of humility. At the very top of the mountain, you could look down on the world without looking down on them if you choose. It simply wasn’t to be. This was a night for reminding those not as great of their inferiority. It wasn’t enough to go into the Hall of Fame as the best, MJ needed to remind everyone else that they were not. It was sad.

He said that he learned something new about each of the people enshrined before him and that he wanted to share something new about himself as well. He wanted to share where his competitive nature came from. He wanted to share with us the logs that built his fire. We were there Mike. We watched each person you chose to call out last night, when they turned themselves into a log you burned to fuel your obsession. You humbled them, each in turn.

John Stockton and Jerry Sloan went into the HOF with you last night, each without an NBA Championship. Each, without a championship because you stood in their way. How classless it was of you to remind them of their failure in an effort to point out your own greatness.

When you’re the best that ever was, you don’t need to tell people. You don’t need to remind them. You don’t need to point it out. I wish someone had told MJ before he took the stage. His speech made it seem like he still felt a need to prove it. Sad, because his own doubt can only work against him.

When Ryne Sandberg went into the Hall of Fame a few years back, he did something he rarely did during his career. He spoke eloquently. His speech was not about himself and about glory, it was about the game, about the sanctity of that game. He bravely said what needed to be said. My heroes remain my heroes. I’m old enough now to know that even heroes are full of weakness. I just wish the hero that was the best of all time, could have gone in with as much dignity and class as the hero who was not.

Friday, September 11, 2009

National Where Were You Day.

Happy “Where Were You Day!” That’s what this is, isn’t it? This is the day of the year when we nod our heads solemnly, when we frown, when we tell each other we can’t believe it’s been eight whole years—how it seems like only yesterday—and then we perform the custom of his new holiday: We trade stories about where we were when those terrorist planes flew into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and crashed in a Pennsylvanian field (if we remember that there were more than the planes that crashed into the WTC that is).

This is the Kennedy moment for my generation, and a new one to add to the collection of those who came before. This is the moment frozen in time and that is the topic of conversation today. The protocol is simple. You look sad, you express disbelief in the time that’s passed, you share your personal experience—where you were when you heard, who you know who knew someone who knew someone who died, or was a hero. Of course there are people who truly were personally affected eight years ago today, but they probably aren’t treating today like an opportunity to tell stories unless it’s for catharsis sake.

For the rest of us though, it’s how we mark the day. It assuages our instinct of needing to show some kind of solemnity. Bad things happened on this date in history. We survived it. So it’s incumbent upon us to be respectful of those who didn’t. Strange, that we decide to do so by marking our own moment in time.

Eight years later, I’m afraid it’s the only personal connection most of us have to the event. It’s been a long time since any of us have sent books and magazines to soldiers. It’s been a long time since we’ve flown our yellow ribbons in support of troops that still fight—regardless of whether or not you believe in the reasons they do. Gone are the feelings of unity and oneness that prevailed for ever-so brief a time. We are every bit as divided a nation as we were on September 10, 2001—if not more so.

Funny, how it doesn’t embarrass anyone. Funny, how so many promises made in vain and left unkept not remembered at all today. Funny, how when those things are brought up, we choose to blame leaders we elected—making hasty and easy scapegoats instead of taking any personal responsibility. Funny, how today has become about me-me-me. This is where I was when the world changed!

Someone’s mother was in a plane that crashed. Someone’s father was in the building it crashed into. Someone’s son was a fireman. Someone’s daughter was a cop. They rushed in, while others rushed out. When was the last time anyone donated to help the forgotten families? Not really the in-vogue charity anymore, is it? They still sing God Bless America before baseball games—I wonder if anyone thinks about the reason they started doing so?
I was in my car, on my way to work. I heard about it on the radio. I guess that’s important. I guess my role in it all means something. When you ask me, I’ll tell you. I’ll tell you that I’ll never forget where I was, as long as I live.

I’d tell you what that day means to me too if you bothered to ask, but you won’t. No one does. Not anymore. It’s for the history books to sort out now. The ones we write today will paint a valiant picture of those of us who survived the day. Though, when others look back, when those who write the history are removed from it far enough to see it objectively, I wonder if they’ll ask: How did the day that changed everything, really change anything at all?

Monday, September 7, 2009

Sacramento Book Review

Okay, for those of you who may be interested, I'm going to be doing some freelance book reviews for the Sacramento Book Review and the San Francisco Book Review. My first two reviews appeared in the September issues. Here are links to the reviews on the website:

A Princess of Landover by Terry Brooks

Monster Hunter International by Larry Correia