Saturday, June 27, 2009

What took you so long?

Nearly four years after the IRA permanently put its arms "beyond use," i.e. decommissioned, the Ulster Defence Alliance and the Ulster Volunteer Force, announced that those groups are also decommissioning. It appears that this is on the first stage of the Protestant paramilitary decommissioning.

I'm interested to see the reaction by Unionists/Loyalists and Nationalists/Republicans. I'm not convinced that they are happily coexisting, but this certainly can't hurt moving those communities closer together. The hardliners will never be happy, I'm afraid.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Injuries stink!

I hurt my back yesterday working out. I feel like an old man now. It's very frustrating being sidelined by injury. Oh well. Maybe I need the extra rest.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Would you let me finish?!

Here's an exchange I find more and more common at drive-through windows:

Distorted Voice Through Crackly Speaker: Hi, welcome to ____. Would you like to try one of our ____ meals? It's only $___.

Me: No thanks, I'd like a...

DVTCS: Go ahead with your order when you're ready.

Me: I'd like a _____ with...

DVTCS: (Interrupts) Would that be all?

Me: No. I'd also like a ______ and I need 2...

DVCTS: (Interrupts again) Anything else?

Me: Yes! I would also like a _____ blank and that's it!

DVTCS: Would you like fries or a drink with that?

Me: No. (Grits teeth) Just the ____, the ____ and the ____.

DVTCS: Thank you your total comes to $5.** (unintelligible). Please pull around.

Me: I'm sorry, how much was that? I couldn't hear it.

DVTCS: $5.**

Me: (Mumble to myself, "Ah, forget it. She can tell me the total at the window.")

Fast food places are frustrating in this way. Either the suggest sell you and won't let you get your order out the way you want it, or they don't let you finish placing your order. The speakers at those places are so lousy you can't understand half of what they say.

That's my rant for the day.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Witness to a death

At least once a year I am lucky (or unlucky) enough to be in court when some case or matter of notoriety is being heard. It's not uncommon to see TV crews outside of the courts that I frequent. Sometimes I'm actually in the courtroom where the matter is being hard. Yesterday was just such a day.

While waiting to see the judge, I sat through the hearing on an injunction to halt the demolition of what remained of Tiger Stadium. For legal reasons that aren't terribly exciting or dramatic, Judge Edwards agreed with the City of Detroit and the Economic Development Corporation that complete demolition should not be further delayed. In essence, the court seemed convinced that because there appeared no likelihood of any sources of funding that could save the stadium and the costs to keep her standing were mounting, that the rest of the building should be scrapped.

Tiger Stadium was a site for so many of my fondest childhood memories. But I said goodbye to it 10 years ago when I walked out of it for the last time.

Leaving a piece of her shell standing for a yet additional indefinite amount of time seems pointless. Perhaps the people in this area that have strong feelings about the stadium issue, one way or another, can move on and devote time and resources to improving other sites within the city. Lord knows that Detroit needs all the help she can get.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

"Real men" don't use duct tape

For the last few days, I've noticed my favorite local sports talk station running commercials for some sort of "real man" contest that involves duct tape. Duct tape?

I'm not so stiff that I don't recognize it's all in good fun. I also have noticed that people are serious about using duct tape to fix stuff on their car or around their house. That's kind of the guy's thing right now: "I can fix anything with a roll of duct tape."

Fellas, duct tape is for duct work. It's not for keeping your mirror on your car, for the handle of your hockey stick, or for repairing a torn window screen. A "real man" would only use that stuff in a pinch and only temporarily.

When I was in college, I had my car window smashed in early spring. I had to drive home 80 miles without a window, so I had to use duct tape and visqueen to cover the hole. That "fix" held me over for about a week until I could get a replacement window. Then I took part my car door and dropped in the glass myself. After putting the door back together the window was like new. If I could fix a car window for about $50 and maybe 2 hours of work, any "real man" could. If you guys are driving around with duct tape and plastic for a car window, you need to turn in your man card.

My dad fixed stuff all the time. He made permanent fixes. Duct tape was never involved. Learn to fix stuff. . . the right way. That's what a "real man" would do.

Monday, June 1, 2009


There's a snobby, sophisticated part of me that tries to convince myself that I'm not a typical couch potato pro sports fan, that I have a rich, fulfilling life not determined or affected by watching other men play a game. I do have a rich, fulfilling life, but I'm kidding myself to think that sports isn't part of that. Sports in general is much lower on my list of priorities than it had been in years past. But it's important.

Right now I'm riveted by the Detroit Red Wings' annual deep playoff run. I wish I didn't care because it's affecting my sleep and my ability to do all the other things I love. But I can't tear myself away from it. As many problems as there are with the NHL, pro hockey's gotta be the most exciting sport there is. I just can't get enough.

I love being angry at the biased broadcasters. I love hating the "goons" on the other team. I go crazy when the Wings put the puck in the net or get into a scrape with the other team.

It's animalistic and a little scary. The amount of excitability in me is nothing short of shocking. It's a tame form of bloodlust...and I crave it.

The Detroit Red Wings, once again, seem to be in control of the Stanley Cup finals. The series is by no means over, but odds are they will win it and bring home the Stanley Cup for the 5th time since 1997. I can't wait for tomorrow night. Bring on game 3!