January 30, 2004

Credit Cards and An ode to cold

I've never been in debt. Okay, that's not entirely true. Yes, I've been in the kind of debt where I had to make car payments, and I'm currently in the kind of debt that says I have to make house payments.

I've never been in credit card debt, however. Truth be told, I've never even owned a credit card. I don't trust them. I've been conditioned not to trust them thanks to many years of living with college roommates.

Most of my college roommates had this weird outlook on credit cards. Basically, they thought credit cards were magical pieces of plastic that just magically paid for things and that they were somehow immune from the the ensuing debt that came about due to excessive credit card spending.

I'll admit it: I was sort of jealous of my roommates and their magical credit cards. After all, they always seemed to have money and, if they didn't, they just whipped out their credit cards. Books? Put them on the credit card. Food? Put it on the credit card. Night out at a strip club? credit card.

And yet there I was writing checks and budgeting like a fool. I remember thinking that I was doing everything all wrong. I mean, there I would sit, meticulously lording over my finances, while my roommates went waltzing all over town swiping their credit cards with the careless glee of a six-year-old with a loaded pistol.

Then, one year, I was a roommate with a guy named Chad. Chad was actually a former high school classmate of mine. He was, and is, a tech-head. He's one of those guys who was born to know technology. Way back in elementary school, he taught me how to write simple programs for the Apple IIc, and he always just seemed to know everything about computers.

But he didn't know shit about personal finances. He whipped out any one of his many credit cards with the swiftness and ease of a Old West gunslinger. By the time we became roommates, he had already accrued over $10,000 in credit card debt.

I remember thinking what an incredibly large amount of money that seemed to be, especially when I factored in the understanding that he also received financial aid, and that he also worked. Granted, he worked at the local Brach's candy factory on the Gummi Bear line, which paid about as well as you might imagine, but it was still money, so I came to the conclusion that old Chad was a pretty carefree spender.

Well, one day, I popped into Chad's outrageously messy room where I noticed, tucked between two huge bags of pilfered defective Gummi Bears, a credit card notice that was slugged "Urgent!" and another that was slugged "Immediate Payment Required" and still another that read "We Break Fingers And Toes."

Then the calls started coming in, usually two or three a day. "Is Mr. Haugen available? We really need to speak with him." No, he's not here. "Are you sure you're not really Mr. Haugen?" Yes, I'm sure. "Well, when he comes in, have him call Mike at Discover immediately." *sound of shotgun cocking* Will do.

Chad was masterful when it came to avoiding creditors. He always seemed to leave the apartment just two or three minutes before a creditor called. It was like he had some sort of sixth sense. Which was all fine and dandy, except that I ended up being the intermediary between Chad and the creditors, so I got to absorb all the impatient anger and suspicion of basically every credit card company on the planet.

It was the day a creditor appeared, in person, at our doorstep that I realized Chad's debt situation was probably more dire than Chad cared to admit. There was a knock at the door, I answered, and a gentleman in a suit that looked both impressive and threatening stood before me. He asked to see a Mr. Chad Haugen, at which point I heard a little scuffling emanating from Chad's room as Chad scurried out the back entrance which, conveniently, was located at the far end of his bedroom.

We chatted together, the ominous creditor and me, for about an hour, waiting for Chad to get home, even though, of course, there was no way in holy hell Chad was going to make an appearance while that guy was in our apartment. I even had to produce my ID, so the creditor was satisfied that I wasn't, in fact, Chad Haugen.

After that, I believe, Chad ended up getting a loan from his parents, or somebody, so he could pay off his credit card debt at least enough to keep the creditors at bay. He eventually got a job working at IBM, which was a long-assed commute from Winona to Rochester, but paid a whole lot more than the Gummi Bear line.

As for me, Chad's experience with credit cards pretty much scared me away from plastic for good.

An Ode to Cold

At 32 degress, they say, water tends to freeze
At -19 degrees today, it fucking hurts to breathe.

And let's not forget there's wind chill, too, which makes it minus forty-five
With temps like this, my fingers freeze, and it's hard to stay alive.

I stepped outside this Friday morn, and was greeted by the Cold
"You're brave," good sir, Cold said to me. "You're stupid, but you're bold."

I spoke with Cold, as I stepped in my car, and asked it to please leave
It laughed at me, a hearty "har," and said I was naive.

"I can not go, you silly twit," said Cold as coldly as can be
"You're in Minnesota, you dipshit, your state belongs to me."

"But all these days of sub zero temps," I said, as I tried to plead my case
"And my car won't start despite nine attempts, and there's frostbite on my face."

"You're overdoing the cold," said I. "You're taking things too far!"
"You make me want to fucking cry, and you froze my fucking car!"

Again the Cold just laughed and laughed, and mocked me as I sat
It conjured up a brutal draft, which made me wish I'd worn a hat.

"There's no such thing as too damned cold," said Cold as I sat and froze.
"Such thinking is in need of scold, so here's some frostbite for your nose."

Cold taunted me for minutes more, which filled me with much sorrow.
It finally left, but not before it promised to return tomorrow.

I called a tow truck to start my car, which cost me many bucks.
So I say to all, both near and far, Cold really fucking sucks.

Posted by Ryan at 12:13 PM | Comments (0)

January 29, 2004

Your Hilarious Headline For The Day

Today, in Rochester, Minnesota's very own Post-Bulletin, the following headline ran on the front page:

"Sex Offenders Find Loophole"

Poor Loop.

UPDATE: I posted too soon! There were some other headline gems in today's issue. Consider:

"Three-Car accident Near Dodge Center Kills One"

Well, apparently, SOMEBODY forgot to dodge.

"Hormel Recalls Cans Of Chili"

Remember those cans? Those were the good old days.

POLITICAL UPDATE: Oh, those crazy French, honorary members of the Coalition Of The Sniveling.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Heh. Mitch Berg has a test. Strangely enough, I got a 28 too.

Posted by Ryan at 01:04 PM | Comments (0)

January 27, 2004

When A Diet Takes Over The World

I've never been on a diet, unless you consider that rather long stretch in college when it could be argued I was on a steady diet of Budweiser, which was a really fun-assed diet, but I couldn't go on it again, because I'm older now and frankly my liver just couldn't handle such a diet.

It's not that I don't believe in dieting. I'm sure diets work just fine for some people. But, basically, I live by the philosophy that exercise is the best, and quite possibly only way to ward off an expanding waistline and to solidify my distinction as a smoking hot specimen of male hunkiness.

Therefore, I exercise quite a little bit, including running, and martial arts, and actually walking to places that are only a few blocks away rather than driving like so many other people who think it's their God-given right to be as lazy as they possibly can and, criminey fuck, people, get off your asses and walk!

Anyhooo. . .

Well, whether I like it or not, I've come to the conclusion that I am unwittingly on the Atkins diet. I don't know how this happened. I just turned on the TV one day and realized that, not only am I on the Atkins diet, I've been on it pretty much for my entire life.

I came to this conclusion when a T.G.I. Fridays commercial came on and it showed a heaping helping of ribs and steak smothered in cheese, with a side order of some other sort of artery clogging agent, and the voiceover pronounced the heart-attack on a plate to be "Atkins Approved," with the big bold "A" logo in the corner and everything. Excuse me? Ribs and steak and cheese constitute diet items? I had to learn more.

I logged on to the Internet and surfed to what I believe was the Atkins Diet home page (atkins.com, which makes sense, I guess), and I was confronted by. . . a smiling woman on a bicycle. Hmmm, so, in order for this diet to work, I'm thinking, you should probably exercise. What a shock.

But, exercise is not the cornerstone of the Atkins diet. No, the Atkins philosophy is that, basically, everything that was once thought to be fattening is now slimming, and everything once thought to be slimming is now fattening. Black is white. Up is down. Left is right.

According to the Atkins diet, one of the biggest no-nos on the worldwide menu is bread or bread derivatives. Let me just type that again so it sinks in: bread is bad for you. Bread. The food item on which the Roman empire depended, the food item that fed the people and armies of practically every empire and civilization ever to grace this planet, is not Atkins Approved. Cheese and ribs and steak are Atkins Approved, but bread is not. Okayyyyyyy.

Well, the science behind the Atkins Diet, and by science I mean Druid-like worship, maintains that the true evil of the human digestive process are carbohydrates which, according to Atkins proponents, are the dietary equivalent of anthrax. If you gradually cut out the consumption of carbohydrates, through a process the Atkins Web site refers to creepily as "induction," eventually the pounds will drop right off. The pounds will drop right off, mind you, provided you also follow this wise Atkins advice: "regular exercise is also essential for controlling weight, toning muscles and maintaining a sense of well-being."

So, there you have it. The secret to weight loss and weight maintenance? Exercise! Who knew? But, that little logical leap hasn't stopped the Atkins juggernaught from taking over American marketing. Everything from steak to vodka is being touted as "low carb" or "Atkins Approved." Every time I pass by that one billboard advertising a low carb beer while showing a shirtless guy doing push-ups I think, "Yeah, I just love to drink a beer while doing push-ups."

I guess I can't fault people for their worship of all things Atkins, but I will say this:

If I continue to exercise for the next 30 years, and you continue with your steak and cheese and rib diet, who do you think will be happier and, for that matter, still alive?

Yeah, that's what I thought.

Posted by Ryan at 11:33 AM | Comments (1)

January 26, 2004

Axe Update

So, I'm sitting here at work, and the whole day I'm thinking, "Why the heck does it smell like Lysol in here?" Then, it finally dawned on me: it's my armpits, or, more specifically, the Axe deodorant I slathered on this morning.

It's kind of a win/lose situation. I mean, sure my pits are nice and dry, but who honestly would be happy smelling like fucking Lysol?

Posted by Ryan at 04:27 PM | Comments (0)

Just Some Quick Randomness

It's snowing today. A lot. I stepped outside this morning to start my car so it would be all nice and toasty after I finished all my bathroom exercises, and I was reminded, once again, why I despise Minnesota winters. They suck. After I finished all my bathroom exercises, I went outside, once again, and had to scrape the remaining snow from my windows. After completing the task, I used my windshield scraper to whap the snow from my shoes. As a result, the scraper broke. Let me just quick repeat that. The scraper broke. Because I hit my shoe with it. That, my friends, is an indication of a shitty scraper. Note to self: I must now purchase a new scraper. A less shitty scraper.

I got a notice in the mail this weekend that I must renew my license before March 1, my birthday. I remember when I renewed my license the last time, and I remember thinking that, when I next had to renew my license, I'd no doubt be doing big and important things. Of course, I'm not doing big and important things, at least not yet, and for some reason that revelation put a real damper on my weekend. Here I am, stuck, with a broken scraper. Crap.

My roommate, Amy, bought a treadmill last week. I didn't know what to think of it at first, because I've always been an enthusiastic proponent of running without a treadmill. There's so much more to see when you go running outside. Well, that was my thinking before last week, when the temperatures here in Minnesota hovered somewhere down around Mars. I discovered a newfound appreciation for treadmills, particularly treadmills that are indoors. I ran six miles on the contraption last night, while also watching Star Trek: The Next Generation. Sure, I'm a geek, but at least I'm a healthy geek.

So, I'm reading all this stuff about Howard Dean being neck-and-neck in the polls with John Kerry today, and I'm left thinking, "wasn't there a three-way tie in Iowa?" It's just that polls, more and more, are being discredited. They're nothing more than guesses, really. And, I'm starting to believe that campaigns have found ways to influence the polls. It's just a sneaking suspicion on my part. I don't know. I guess I really don't care. Thank God for The Daily Show With Jon Stewart for making mocking sense of it all.

I think I'm a real sucker for Axe products. I even bought the Axe deodorant/anti-perspirant Friday night. I guess it's okay stuff. I mean, it keeps my armpit stink and moisture at bay and all that. Still, I can't figure out why I'm drawn to the stuff. There are plenty of other products out there that deal with armpit issues. Why am I so magnetized to Axe? Gotta be the commercials. All the chicks in those commercials are so damned hot. Therefore, by using Axe, I'll attract all the hot chicks. Okay, probably not.

Anyway, it's Monday, and I have much work to do. Must get at it.

UPDATE: Well, at least SOMEBODY understands the political process.

Posted by Ryan at 09:42 AM | Comments (0)

January 25, 2004

Where I'm At

You know, if elections were held today, I'm thinking my vote would go to John Edwards. Provided he pursues the War on Terror with the same zeal as Bush and Company.

Posted by Ryan at 03:21 PM | Comments (0)

January 22, 2004

Just Say No To Mayo

I'm a whiner. I whine about a lot of things. I'm actually kind of proud of my distinguished whining prowess. I'm also extremely pleased that I can be both a hopeless whiner and a smoking hot specimen of male hunkiness at the same time. What can I say? I'm gifted.

So, anyway, yesterday I was sitting in on a meeting up in the Twin Cities. It was a big and important meeting featuring big and important people within the magazine I write for. And then there was me. When it comes to the magazine I write for, I'm neither big nor important. I'm just kind of there. Now that I think about it, I believe the only reason I'm expected to attend those meetings is because no one trusts me to be in the office all alone. That's probably wise.

Well, while all the big and important people discussed big and important things, my attention was focused on something far more big and important: lunch. I was really hungry and, according to the schedule of events, we were supposed to break for lunch at 11:30 a.m.

Well, 11:45 rolled around, and still we hadn't eaten. In hungry desperation, I futilely underlined the word "lunch" on my schedule so repeatedly, that eventually the ink started to soak through the paper. Finally, the group broke for lunch, and sandwiches were brought in. I could scarcely contain my excitement.

I grabbed a bag of chips and two sandwiches and I scurried back to my seat to inspect the meal. And that's when I saw it: mayonnaise. I hate mayonnaise. I despise mayonnaise. And, when confronted by a sandwich defiled by mayonnaise, I fall back on my old standby: whining.

"Awwww, man, there's mayonnaise all over these things," I groaned, returning the sandwiches to the counter, refusing to eat them.

I don't understand it. At what point in the evolution of the sandwich was it decided that mayonnaise should be a required component? And, more than that, why is mayonnaise so liberally slathered on a sandwich? I mean, I could probably deal with mayonnaise if it weren't smeared all over the place. I could take a knife and remove the offensive gunk if it weren't so omnipresent.

As it is, mayonnaise is spread all over the place, with the thickness of toothpaste. There is no way to reclaim a sandwich once modern day portions of mayonnaise are applied. It's a lost cause. It gets all over the lettuce, which is ruined, and it finds its way into the deepest fibers of the bun or bread. Once introduced to the pristine sandwich environment, you see, mayonnaise stages a massive takeover.

It's hard to explain my disdain for mayonnaise, beyond the fact that I just can't stand the taste. I have a violent reaction to the taste of mayonnaise, by which I mean I spit it out and scrub my tongue with a napkin. I think it says volumes about mayonnaise that the biggest mayonnaise company out there is called Hellmans, because when I bite into a sandwich with mayonnaise glued in there, I think, "Yuck! What the hell, man?!"

And, you know, I don't think I'm the only mayonnaise hater out there. I think there are legions upon legions of fellow mayo haters who are sick and tired of restaurants just assuming that we want our burgers iced with mayonnaise. What gives them the right to decide what we want on our food? Knock it off! Stop pushing your pro-mayo political agenda on the rest of us!

And if you don't stop with the mayonnaise, I'll have to reach deep down and break out my hidden weapon.

I'll whine.

Posted by Ryan at 11:44 AM | Comments (0)

January 21, 2004

That's Not Punny!

Once again, work requires me to journey northward to the Twin Cities today, so posting will be light, by which I mean, non-existent. Still, I feel I should leave you with SOMETHING. So, here you be, a familiar post for some, because I've dragged this out many times before, but I still think it's a hoot (and one of my better newspaper columns, I might add). I give you. . .

My Middle East Madness Menu c. Ryan Rhodes, Oct. 17, 2001

After a long day of avoiding a U.S. led airstrike over your war torn country, hunger is no doubt the first thing on your mind. You desire something fast and inexpensive, something that the whole family can enjoy. So, come to Osama's Fast Food Emporium, your Mecca for affordable family cuisine.

At Osama's, you'll be treated to a virtually bomb free atmosphere, and you're encouraged to enjoy Allah you can eat. And, Osama's extensive menu guarantees a pleasant and different dining experience every time you visit.

"Osama's has declared a holy war on hunger," said a satisfied customer. "When I first heard of a franchise in the area, I didn't walk, Iran."

Yasser, you betcha, this is no joke, this Israel. With Osama's restaurants springing up throughout the Middle East, you're probably just a camel ride away from a hearty Osama's meal. So, make a pilgrimage to your nearest Osama's today. Remember, a rolling stone gathers no mosque.

So, what culinary delights can you find at Osama's? You're encouraged, of course, to start off with a nice garden or caesar Saladdin before moving on to the main course. How about a nine piece order of Taliban Tenders. These tender white Gaza strips of chicken breast, rolled in Osama's secret blend of herbs and spices, are sure to satisfy even the most hardlined fundamentalist. Or, enjoy a rosemary and Yemen chicken breast (with a slight sprinkle of Sultan pepper), a sure hit with your wives.

Feeling a little Mexican? Then order our delicious chicken El Queda Quesadillas.

But wait, you aren't limited to chicken at Osama's. You can also enjoy a vast assortment of mutton dishes. In fact, at Osama's, our specialty Islam.

Osama's also provides several side orders, including, for a limited time, ripened ears of Koran on the Kaaba.

"Oman, that Koran on the Kaaba was excellent," said another appreciative diner. "I almost feel bad that I ate four ears. I sincerely apologize."

No need to say you're Saudi at Osama's. At our affordable prices, we understand when you eat more than your share.

Of course, Osama's didn't forget the early risers. For the breakfast crowd, Osama's provides small and large stacks of Pakistani Pancakes smothered in bin Ladenberry syrup. Other breakfast items include Hezbollah Hash Browns, Baghdad Bacon, Syrian Sausage, and Beirut Bagels.

Wash down your Osama's meal with any of our beverages, including juices, sodas, and our famous Shiite Shakes. All refills only cost a Qatar.

So, you've finished your Osama's meal, and you still have room for more? Perhaps something on the sweet side? Not to worry; Osama's also provides a number of delicious desert desserts, including our Sahara Sundaes and Empty Quarter Eclairs.

Like most families, you probably have some unruly children who are hungry but difficult to satisfy. No problem. Simply load up your little terrors and bring them to Osama's, where they can enjoy our low priced Angry Meals. Upon hearing that they're headed to Osama's, your children will no doubt start yelling and shieking with glee. You may have to Muslim.

Yes, Osama's has lifted the veil on affordable family cuisine. See for yourself. Come to Osama's Fast Food Emporium today!

Posted by Ryan at 07:39 AM | Comments (0)

January 20, 2004

I Outta Be In Pictures. . .

Caroline says: I learned a new word from a movie this weekend: "sharted"

Ryan says: A sharp fart?

Caroline says: to attempt a fart, only to shit yourself in the end

Ryan says: Hm. Very clever.

Ryan says: I would have done better.

Caroline says: like?

Ryan says: Flaturpants.

Caroline says: lol

Ryan says: See?

Caroline says: maybe it's the way the guy said it in the movie

Caroline says: it was hilarious

Ryan says: It would have been funnier if he said flaturpants.

Posted by Ryan at 11:04 AM | Comments (0)

When Did Space Exploration Become A Punchline?

To hear some Minnesota newspapers tell it, you'd think W's space exploration initiative is the biggest white elephant ever trotted out before the American public. I don't know; I actually think the initiative doesn't go far enough. Eight years to put a man back on the moon? What? Did NASA lose the Apollo 11 file or what?

Criminey, the Chinese will have tea houses on the moon before we even gas up the next Saturn V.

I'll admit it, I'm a dreamer. I buy into all the Star Trek crap (not the first one, mind you, that sucked; The Next Generation). I like to think that warp speed and transporters and tricorders are all just a given somewhere down the human evolutionary line. I'm a sucker for shit like that.

Yeah, yeah, I know: I can already hear the voices of those masses groaning that space exploration, at least government funded space exploration, is a drain on the money that should rightfully go towards feeding the hungry, and putting handicapped children on the road to recovery, and whatever other reason you can dream up that sounds great on paper but in reality is just as crazy-sounding as any long-term plan for space exploration. As James Lileks wrote so appropriately recently:

It just strikes me as the same old provincial jibe I dimly recall from the Apollo era: why are we going to the Moon when there are so many problems here? . . . Some are steamed because the Hubble?s been tanked ahead of schedule, and I?m not pleased about that either. But you could say that every dollar spent on the Hubble thus far could have gone towards Toles? crudely drawn paralyzed girl. Would the artist insist we had never sent the observatory in the first place, then? For that matter: there were paralyzed children in the 60s. Would Toles have preferred that the government shut down the Apollo program and throw all the millions into spinal-cord regeneration research? . . . France isn?t going to the moon. What stops them from curing spinal-cord injuries? Germany isn?t going to the moon. What stops them from curing spinal-cord injuries? Britain isn?t going to the moon. What stops them from curing spinal-cord injuries? And so forth. It?s not a zero-sum game; America is not the world. But America is best suited to leave this world for another. If that idea leaves you cold, fine.

Look, I'm not disputing the fact that NASA is rapidly reaching the end of its usefulness. If there were viable business sector alternatives to catapulting a person into space, I'd be all for that as well. I could care less whether the sending body is the U.S.A. or IBM, just so long as there's a sending body.

I guess it's just a matter of where one's vision lies. Some people see the poverty of America and believe that should be addressed first before gallavanting off to the stars. That's nice and noble, I suppose, if not entirely, and inherently, impossible. But that's a different topic all together.

I wasn't even born when man first stepped foot on the moon, and frankly I'm a little astonished that there aren't people living there, or at least travelling there routinely, all these many years later. I grew up on pictures of Neil Armstrong walking on that icy orb, but those pictures haven't been updated since. That saddens me. Human curiousity, interrupted.

I see all these pictures streaming back from Mars and I think, "Wow!" And then I think how much I wish I could be there, if for no other reason but to leave my footprints on that rusty surface. To say, "We've been here, and we'll be back, because we're human and that's what we do!"

I suppose we could just flinch at the danger of space travel and continue sending machines that take 14 minutes or so to receive the commands issued by their human controllers rooted here on earth. Sure, machines could do that, I suppose, into perpetuity. It's nice and safe. And it totally flies in the face of everything adventurous in the human soul. A machine just does things, it doesn't experience those things. A machine can load up a soil sample and cook it and calculate whether there's water there; it can't run the soil through its hands and just marvel at it, and ache out of pure joy at being able to be there, simply touching that alien surface. A machine can't stand on Mars and then look up at the Martian sky, point to the brightest star on the horizon, and say "that's next."

Again, as Lileks said: I can?t shake the suspicion that we were put here to leave.

Or, I suppose you could take the Dave Barry route: We don't NEED to send people to Mars. We can just ask Michael (Jackson) what it's like.

Posted by Ryan at 10:31 AM | Comments (0)

January 19, 2004

Starting A Monday Off With A Smile

Sooooo, the company I work for, MSP Communications (okay, I also work for IBM, but it's a convoluted sort of thing I'm not going to go into here), and the receptionist there is kind of particular about the work environment. Anyway, the receptionist routinely sends out e-mails to the entire MSP staff whenever something is missing, or if something just isn't right, at least, according to her. So, today, I get this e-mail, addressed to the entire MSP staff:

The 409 spray bottle is missing from the lunchroom cupboard. Will the person who was using it, please return it ASAP.

Not 30 seconds later, I came across a picture that just made me howl, and I felt compelled to send a response to the entire MSP staff. It went:

The 409 has been found. It's behind the hairy guy: http://windsofchange.net/files/ace-in-the-hole-2003/down-and-out-in-tikrit-hills.jpg

I'm so going to get fired for shit like this.

UPDATE: As expected, I'm getting a little bit of flak for this. When, exactly, did the world up and decide to be absolutely no fun at all?

Posted by Ryan at 10:30 AM | Comments (0)

January 16, 2004

Jeez. . .

The female suicide bomber who blew up Wednesday at the Erez Checkpoint in the Gaza Strip will not be the last woman to carry out a suicide attack, senior Hamas member Mahmoud Azhar said Thursday.

Reem Salah al-Rayashi, 21, the mother of two small children from Gaza, blew herself up Wednesday morning at the Erez crossing between Israel and the Gaza Strip, killing two soldiers, a border policeman, and a security guard for a private manpower company.

"She is not going to be the last (attacker) because the march of resistance will continue until the Islamic flag is raised, not only on the minarets of Jerusalem, but over the whole universe," promised Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar.

But, maybe if I really try to understand such terrorists better, I mean, REALLY try to understand them historically and politically, that won't sound as much like a statement of intent to subjugate the people of the world under the turban of Islamofascist rule.

Posted by Ryan at 02:14 PM | Comments (0)

January 15, 2004

Science! Physics! Can You Help Me Here?!

Okay, so, something's been bothering me as of late, and I think it directly relates to Einstein's Theory of Relativity.

So, let's say you're in a car, moving at 65 m.p.h. Then, in the other lane, there's a car coming at you at 65 m.p.h. Okay, but, relative to you, wouldn't the other car be coming at you at 130 m.p.h., or, alternatively, relative to him, wouldn't you be traveling at 130 m.p.h?

Given that, I guess what's been bothering me is this: if you somehow manage to get a vehicle to travel at half the speed of light, and then you send another vehicle at the first vehicle at half the speed of light, wouldn't it be true that, when the vehicles pass, they'd pass each other at the speed of light, and isn't that supposed to be impossible?

Does anybody know? Does anybody care? Can somebody answer me this? ANYONE?

Posted by Ryan at 04:03 PM | Comments (0)

You Parallel Park, Or You DIE!

Evelyn says: I need this: http://www.cnn.com/2004/TECH/ptech/01/15/car.selfpark.ap/index.html

Ryan says: For $2,200, it's yours.

Evelyn says: Cool beans. I can't parallel park to save my life.

Ryan says: I shudder to think of a scenario in which someone has to parallel park to save their life.

Evelyn says: Only on Fear Factor or something.

Ryan says: "She ist too far away from ze curb. Shoot her!"

Evelyn says: LOL

Posted by Ryan at 03:35 PM | Comments (0)

Upon Further Review, Everyone Is Pretty Much Like Hitler

After A Lot Of Consideration, People Agree That All People Can Be Compared To Nazi Leader

NEW YORK (Rhodes Media Services) -- According to opinions gathered from 317,346 people worldwide by the organization, Comparison, Inc., most everyone agrees that, whether your political views lean to the left, right, or somewhere in between, practically everyone, if you put a little thought into it, can be compared to Adolf Hitler.

The opinion poll was conducted following a busy week during which the Internet gathering site of largely left leaning individuals, MoveOn.org, saw an influx of people comparing George W. Bush to Hitler, as well as Indymedia.com, where there was a recent attempt to equate American soldiers with Nazi SS troopers.

The surprising results conducted by Comparison, Inc., revealed that Hitler comparisons can be used to fit the personal profiles of pretty much every person who has ever lived, from world leaders past and present, to the every day ordinary Joe on the street.

"Oh, come on, Julius Caesar was so obviously Hitler," said Joseph Cambridge, 34, of lower Manhatten. "I mean, he declared himself dictator and totally messed with the way Rome was governed, throwing out the concepts of the mos mairorem entirely. Yep, if Caesar had come along after Hitler, I'm positive you'd be hearing about how similar they are. And, you know, while I'm on the topic, that neighbor of mine (Jack Tomlinson, 29) is kind of like Hitler too. He still hasn't returned my hot plate, that little Nazi-like fucker."

Such opinions were widely held, according to the Comparison, Inc., survey, which also found that a lot of people consider Martin Luther King, Jr., former President Bill Clinton, Ghandi, Mother Theresa, Joseph Stalin, Tony Blair, and countless neighbors and relatives, all bear at least nominal similarities to the Nazi fuhrer.

"My brother-in-law has a moustache that is sooooo Hitler," said Siegfried Heinz, of Berlin, Germany. "Plus, he dating some chick named Eva, which is right out of the Hitler book of relationships. Lousy fucking Nazi sonofabitch."

Posted by Ryan at 11:17 AM | Comments (0)

January 13, 2004

Pondering My toilet Tank

Last week, I was sitting at home at my desk, with the television mindlessly blaring behind me. Suddenly, the television or, more appropriately, a television commercial, asked a question that I had never, until that very moment, taken the time to consider.

"Do you know what's going on in your toilet tank?"

Well, no, not really. I mean, I'll occasionally rest my back up against the toilet tank, or maybe leave an issue of Time magazine or a book resting on it but, by and large, the intricate workings of the toilet tank and the dark secrets it guards typically don't concern me.

But, there was a sense of urgency in that commercial, something that made me think they knew something I didn't. Perhaps all my egregious toilet tank neglect had resulted in some sort of mutation within my toilet tank that could ultimately threaten the existence of mankind.

I rushed to the bathroom immediately to inspect the tank and its inner workings, fully expecting to do battle with a horde of strange new creatures. Okay, I wasn't actually fully expecting to do battle with anything, but the commercial did remind me that it was way past time to refresh my toilet's 2000 Flushes.

As I expected, all was serene within my toilet tank, everything was in near-perfect order; nothing too exciting.

Which made me wonder: why do so many commercials make toilet cleaning seem like such an action-packed and enjoyable endeavor? I mean, come on! It's a toilet! When I look down at a dirty toilet, I don't get at all excited. Truthfully, I get more grossed out than anything else. But, the commercials, they make toilet cleaning seem better than a trip to Disney World.

Take the product, toilet Duck, for example. Now, I'll admit it: I've never used toilet Duck. When it comes to the cleaning of toilets, I prefer the most hands off approach possible. Therefore, I'm a die-hard toilet tank tablet enthusiast, and for my money it's tough to beat the blue cleansing power of 2000 Flushes. You drop a couple of discs in the tank, and things pretty much take care of themselves for the next month or so.

But, toilet Duck still fascinates me. Here you have an actual toilet mascot, an enthusiastic rubber ducky that apparently thinks cleaning toilets is the most fun there is. And, the cartoon duck lets out the most adorable "Quack, Quaaaaaack!" while it works, zooming around the toilet bowl with the biggest grin you've ever seen on a duck and, let me assure you, I've seen plenty of grinning ducks. Okay, no I haven't.

I try to think what it must have been like way back when that fledgling company was trying to establish itself as a powerhouse in the toilet cleaning industry. They held a marketing brainstorming meeting to try and come up with a unique brand identity.

COMPANY CEO: All right, people, we're not leaving this room until we have a marketing strategy to promote our new and super-powerful toilet cleaning agent. Any ideas?

MARKETING VP: I've been working on this, and I think a mascot would really help. I just can't think of what kind of mascot to best associate with a toilet.

CEO'S BRATTY SON: Gee, how about, like, you know, a duck? A toilet duck.

ENTIRE MEETING: *grumble* *murmur* *occasional yawn*

CEO: A toilet duck? I like it! I was thinking about possibly a toilet giraffe, but we could end up in a legal mess with Toys –R- Us, to say nothing of the unlikely nature of a toilet-cleaning giraffe. But a duck, eh? Let's do it!

And so the toilet Duck was born, er, I mean hatched, and from all appearances that toilet duck thinks cleaning toilets is just ducky.

Not me, though. I hate cleaning my toilet, and I don't care what the heck is going on in my toilet tank.

Posted by Ryan at 03:31 PM | Comments (0)

January 12, 2004

Let's Talk About Sex

One of my daily reads, Mitch Berg, went off on a tirade about sexual education in public schools and how it basically doesn't work. I don't begrudge him his position, simply his conclusions.

I'm biased here, I'll admit it. After all, I not only come from a public school system that taught sex ed, my father was the teacher. Granted, having one's own father as his sexual education teacher resulted in a string of embarrasing classes ("now, when my wife and I decided to try for Ryan here"), but the students came out of those classes with the ability to put their raging hormones into context.

There's a knee jerk reaction when it comes to sex ed, and it's a reaction predicated on the unconscious belief that sex ed is, in fact, a how-to manual of sexual positions and the right combination of flowers and wine to best ensure getting laid. Well, I can't speak for all sex ed programs nationwide. I can only speak with authority on my own experience. And, my own experience made me extraordinarily aware of the wider ramifications of sexual activity.

We learned about sexually transmitted diseases. We learned about the physical make-up of the male and female reproductive systems. We learned about contraceptives. We learned about pregnancy. And, yes, we learned about abstinence. And, I'll tell you something, for a lot of my classmates, that sexual education class was the only time in their lives someone actually spoke to them frankly, honestly and empirically about sex. I mean, let's face it, even the most perfect parents in the world get squeamish and evasive when it comes to discussing sex with their children. Hell, I'm 28, and my mother still doesn't want to read about me having sex with ANYONE. My father doesn't want to read it much either, and he's a SEX ED TEACHER.

Mitch has this to say: Second - abstinence only DOES work. It's all that is taught in Catholic schools; no contraception, no abortion, no sex. And students at Catholic schools have a lower rate of teenage pregnancy than public schools.

Yeah, well, in an environment that practically chastises you for holding your wang while you pee, eventually you'll get it nailed through your head that sex is the biggest sin imaginable.

That's because "sex ed" in the Catholic school doesn't divorce the physical and moral components of sexuality - something no public school in his day and age is allowed to do.

Yes, because public schools have an obligation to teach a student MORALS, seeing as how the parents are apparently incapable of doing so.

Right. But we don't have a thoughtful society. We have Hollywood, and pop music, "Bratz" dolls, TV, and even the Disney Channel starting to sexualize kids younger and younger. We have teeny idol Britney Spears playing cat-and-mouse with virginity while living with fellow teen idol Justin Timberlake. We have Christina Aguilera glamourizing sluttiness. We have President Clinton, glamourizing and legitimizing the Lothario. We have innumerable examples of sex as glamorous, powerful, fun, grown-up - and very few of pregnancy, of single parenthood, of the options that pregnancy closes down.

Exactly. And THAT'S why sexual education, not just an abstinence-only approach, is so critically important. Rather than telling kids "don't do it," and then sending them out in a society that says "DO IT, DO IT, DO IT," why not arm them with the knowledge of what can and does happen if they DO IT, DO IT, DO IT." Which is exactly what a good sexual education program does and the type of program I learned under.

Posted by Ryan at 11:15 AM | Comments (0)

Cold weather Survival Tips

It's come to my attention that, because it's January, some readers of this column may be enduring a phenomenon known as cold weather. Now, although cold weather can be a life-threatening occurrence, with a little useful knowledge, anyone can survive a cold snap.

As luck would have it, I possess such useful knowledge, and I'm willing to pass it on to you, free of charge, because that's the wonderful kind of guy I am.

First off, you should determine whether you live in, or are visiting, a cold climate. To find this out, locate a map and point to the city you happen to be in right now. If your finger lands within the border of a state called Minnesota, chances are good you're in a cold climate. If so, you should follow these simple tips.

You should always ascertain just how cold a given day is in order to prepare accordingly. If you're a snooty rich person, you can just look outside at your fancy schmancy thermometer. Lacking a thermometer, you can just quickly step outside and make the following observations:

-If your teeth hurt immediately upon stepping outside, the temperature is probably somewhere below zero, usually -15 degrees Fahrenheit or so without wind chill.

-If your teeth don't hurt, but you find it hard to blink, we're talking 3 below to 10 above zero.

-If blinking is normal, but you take a deep breath through the nose and feel your boogers freeze, the temperature is between 10 and 32 degrees.

-If it feels kind of chilly, but none of the aforementioned symptoms occur, you should thank your lucky stars for a Minnesota heat wave in January.

After discovering just how cold it is outside, you should next decide what type of clothing to wear to best deal with the chilly temperatures.

If, for example, the temperature is of the teeth hurting persuasion, you'll probably be best served by wearing long underwear with sweatpants and jeans, two thick sweaters, a jacket thick enough to deflect bullets and some sort of furry hat that fools people into thinking you have large rodent sleeping on your head.

Any temperature above the teeth hurting mark can usually be warded off by long underwear and pants, a single sweater, and a jacket thick enough to deflect bullets. The rodent hat is optional, but well in line with Minnesota winter fashion for the last 30 years.

Be sure to start your car and let it run an appropriate length of time before journeying forth in cold weather. An "appropriate length of time" varies according to how warm you like your automobile to be, but most estimates range from 20 minutes to simply letting the car run 24/7 throughout the winter season. Sure, it costs a fortune in gas but, ultimately, it may actually be worth it.

It's widely believed that, to conserve energy, it's best to keep the home thermostat kept just below 70 degrees. This, I believe, is insane. After all, it's called "indoor heat," not "indoor kinda warm." Therefore, crank the heat up to 85 and dance around in your underwear while sipping a tropical drink with an umbrella in it.

Oven heat is a good complement to your home heating system. As such, you should keep a hefty supply of frozen pizzas on hand to cook at a moment's notice, whenever you feel as though a little extra heat is required. If, as a result of this measure, you find yourself with a lot of uneaten pizza, you should throw a large party immediately, remembering, of course, to invite me.

Swearing and expletives go hand in hand with cold weather. If, upon exiting your home, you discover that your boogers have frozen, feel free to make such comments as "man, it's really #%^$&*@ cold out!" and "@#$%&#, it's cold. I can't believe how @#$&%# cold out it is." Letting loose with expletives such as these encourage muscle movement in the face and, let's just admit it, it feels good to swear once in awhile.

I would type up some more rules here, but my fingers are getting cold.

Posted by Ryan at 10:05 AM | Comments (0)

January 09, 2004

It's Been Awhile, So How About Some Cheddar?

When it comes to being a Cheddar X participant, I'm kind of a slacker, but I remember to do it once in awhile, and that counts for something. Doesn't it?

1. Do you have a pet name for your significant other? If so, how did it come about?

No pet names here, although I suppose I call her "Babe" sorta, kinda often.

2. What was your favorite cartoon growing up? What's your favorite cartoon now?

You really can't go wrong with Loony Toons. When it came to Saturday morning cartoons, good old Loony Toons never failed to entertain, even if it was the 800th time you saw a particular episode. Loony Toons were eternal, easily outlasting the likes of the Smurfs and the Snorks. Now, obviously, I have to say The Simpsons, with a little South Park thrown in for good measure.

3. What is your best way to save money?

I wish I fucking knew.

4. What was your most frivolous purchase in the last couple of months?

Oh boy. New computer speakers. A new, yet incredibly comfy, leather executive desk chair. Oh, and while I was in Hawaii, I got on this kick where Mel and I kept going back to this arcade where, in addition to video games, you could play to win tickets which, if you won enough of them, you could trade them in for prizes. Good Lord, I think I blew $150 at that stupid place, with just a bunch of crap to show for it. Although, I did eventually win a Gerber multi-tool, which came in extremely useful almost immediately, because I used it to remove Melissa's nine stitches. "Paging Dr. Rhodes for surgery please. And bring your Gerber multi-tool."

5. What word would you like to see banished from use forever?

Not that I would enjoy seeing it banished, but I would be quite pleased to hear all of America stop using "like" multiple times in a sentence. You know, like, it's like, totally like this, see? Whereas once it was associated primarily by vapid valley girls, it has now permeated the very fabric of our vernacular, and I think it's, like, time for it to go. As for an actual word that should be banished? Metrosexual. Jeez. Could that BE, like, any dumber?

6. What is the strangest thing about someone that has attracted you? (I.e. the way someone walked, the way they chewed, along those lines).

Bizarre, I know, but one of my last girlfriends had an artistic streak in her, and she could draw extremely well. Watching her draw, for some inexplicable reason, was just a total turn-on.

7. What was your most memorable New Year's Eve? Why?

This is a toughie, because New Year's Eves, by and large, basically suck. However, when I was in Hawaii during the 1999-2000 New Year's, with all the Y2k hype and gloom and doomers scratching their way to the surface, I remember walking over seven miles back to the condo along the ocean, knowing that Hawaii was in the last time zone on earth to make the turn to the new year, and I knew that the rest of the world had made it into 2000 without a hitch. It was a strangely calm and soothing new year. Maybe not the most entertaining, but certainly the most serene.

Posted by Ryan at 09:46 AM | Comments (0)

January 08, 2004

Farewell, Middle Earth

Last night, Melissa and I finally went to see The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King. Now, I'm a fan of the books, first and foremost, so I can't help but roll my eyes every time Peter Jackson took a liberty or two with Tolkien's original.

I had my gripes about Return of the King, to be sure, not the least of which was the lack of a Sarumon scene of any sort, to say nothing of the entire deletion of the scouring of the Shire conclusion of the book (then again, that would have probably added another four hours to the film, which would have been awfully cruel).

Still, it was a damned good movie. I mean, yeah, Jackson took some liberties and all, but he was able to do something onscreen that you would think should be impossible to do. Namely, he really brought imagination alive. See, Tolkien had a gift of descriptive narrative. The man could dedicate five pages to describing tree bark. But, as he described things more in the distance, his narrative became somewhat more vague, allowing the reader to fill in the blanks with his or her unique imagination. Somehow, Jackson was able to do just that on film. Sure, everything close up was vibrant and rich, but in the distance, things often became somehow less real, looking more like the fanciful paintings of an artist experimenting with strange colors for the horizon.

However, and I'm not sure this is a gripe or not, the movie seemed as if it grabbed scenes directly out of The Empire Strikes Back. I mean, there's this entire scene dedicated to huge oliphaunts (basically genetically modified elephants) which were, basically, the Imperial walkers that assisted in the invasion of Hoth. Even Legolas the elf took on a Luke Skywalker role by single-handedly bringing down one of the giant beasts. Oh, and when Eowyn says to her father "I have to save you," and he responds, "You already did," I mean, can you say Return of the Jedi/Luke and Vader? Helloooo?

But, I digress. It really was an awesome movie, with computer generated scenes so vibrant and alive, all I could do was sit there with a dumb happy look on my face. Now I'm kind of hoping Jackson will just say, "to heck with it," and bring the book "The Hobbit," to the big screen as well. Shit, it would be worth it just to see the dragon, Smaug.

Posted by Ryan at 10:58 AM | Comments (0)

January 06, 2004

Looking Through The Crystal Ball At '04

January (or at least what's left of it): Once again confounding the odds makers in Vegas, Pete Rose briefly marries Britney Spears, with Michael Jackson acting as the minister. Rose's best man, Kobe Bryant, interrupts the ceremony to comment to Spears that she has a nice ass and that he'd sure like to go backdoor on her. Bryant's wife instantly materializes to demand a $5 million toe ring.

Osama bin Laden releases another video tape to Al Jazeera which shows him getting hit in the groin by a football. CIA analysts pore over the video countless times to ensure it doesn't contain hidden signals to Al Queda. Although no such signals are found, the analysts continue to watch the video, admitting that it's "pretty funny."

February: The White House, bowing to media pressure, finally opens up and releases the whereabouts of Dick Cheney's "undisclosed location." Media organizations swarm to the area, only to find a recently-used Port-A-Potty with Cheney's signature etched on the toilet seat. Undeterred, CNN builds a plywood recreation of the Port-A-Potty and broadcasts a three part expose showing several scenarios of how the vice president may have sat while relieving himself.

China, responding to another SARS flare-up, decides to embark on a containment strategy that oversees the killing of all pandas. Responding to criticism over the dire measure, a Chinese doctor says, "Well, SOMETHING has to be causing it. If it's not the pandas, we'll try killing off something else. It's all very scientific."

March: Doctors for George W. Bush give the President a clean bill of health. Extreme critics of the Bush administration immediately go on the defensive, saying that the report is nothing but a pile of lies and deception meant to steer the American public into a war with Tunisia, New Zealand and "that one country near that one river."

The Spirit Mars Rover accidently encounters life on the red planet, a tiny, three legged being that was standing in front of the rover, apparently trying to communicate. The joyous discovery turns to tragedy, however, when the rover, unable to alter course immediately due to the 10 minutes it takes for signals to traverse the space between earth and Mars, runs over the small being, which gets stuck in the tread of the right front wheel.

April: The country of India, having absorbed roughly 50 percent of U.S. jobs due to corporate outsourcing, briefly considers incorporating itself. The idea is given up, however, when the government of India realizes it will be a laughing stock if it changed its name to India, Inc.

The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) receives an unprecedented signal from the planet Mars. After much deciphering of the signal, experts believe the translated message is, "You carbon-based life-forms will pay dearly for the death of our beloved ambassador, Zzzzdukop!"

May: Letting his guard down, Osama bin Laden strays out of his cave to stretch his legs, and is immediately brought into custody by a coalition patrol. Although the Al Queda leader doesn't put up a struggle, soldiers say that bin Laden smelled particularly bad, "kind of like an old bathtub full of pee." While the world rejoices, Bush critics maintain that the capture means nothing in the wider scope of terrorism and that the capture puts America more at risk, not less.

The American political landscape is stunned when the nine Democratic Presidential contenders combine to form a Super Demo-Zord, an imposing robotic presence that is huge to behold and talks a whole bunch, but basically does nothing except demand money for mostly ineffectual social programs.

June: A surprise delegation from the Muzzkadepp Republic of Mars, arriving in a saucer-like craft, is accidently blown apart while in near earth orbit during another test of America's Missile Defense shield. Said one military analyst of the goof, "Ohhhhhh, son of a fuck! This is gonna' cost us, for sure."

Holding their first free elections since the fall of Saddam Hussein's Ba'ath regime, the Iraqi populace is overjoyed with their newly elected president, Arnold Shwartzenegger. Gary Coleman demands a recount, but his bid to do so is halted when the Iraq Supreme Court decides it's sick and tired of Gary Coleman's shit.

July: The United Nations, bored with nothing to do, decides to start its own soccer team, The U.N. Nitros. Although the Nitros have a very successful season, with Kofi Annan as their leading scorer, most Americans simply opt to watch baseball and football, because soccer, let's face it, is as boring as dead grass.

Britney Spears, after months of not being able to think of anything else ridiculous to do, finally poses for Playboy. Thousands of acne-ridden 13-year-old boys disappear into the bathroom for the next several months. Michael Jackson is devastated at the disappearance of so many young, nubile males.

August: A sudden attack by the Muzzkadepp Republic of Mars stuns America when the Muzzkadeppian space fleet, thinking it understands earth culture, eradicates the large hillside letters that spell out HOLLYWOOD. Believing they delivered a powerful blow against earth, the Muzzkadeppians return to Mars to further strategize. The U.S., confusing the attack as a peace overture, sends a shipment of Krispy Kreme donuts to the red planet.

The Super Demo-Zord, while accepting the Democratic Presidential nomination, short circuits slightly and is only able to say "I'm a metrosexual," over and over again for the next several hours. Extreme Bush critics, though admittedly embarrassed by the poor showing of the Super Demo-Zord, maintain "Well, anything is better than that chimp-Nazi-warmonger-satan-wanker-if-he-wins-reelection-the-world-is-as-good-as-doomed." Meanwhile, nationwide, Bush's approval ratings soar.

September: SETI receives an urgent plea from the Muzzkadepp Republic of Mars asking for as many copies of the Atkins diet as earth can possibly spare to combat a Krispy Kreme obesity outbreak, promising to cease all hostilities if earth follows through with the relief effort.

In a move that surprises everyone, Al Jazeera airs a video of Osama bin Laden in prison. Bin Laden, sporting a muscular build, a shaved face, and a "I'm Debo's Bitch" tattoo on his left arm, announces his conversion to Scientology. A demoralized Al Queda is so thoroughly depressed, it can't even convince its members to blow themselves up any more.

October: The Muzzkadeppians of Mars sue for peace and an alliance is won with our solar system neighbors. They offer to open their planet up to weapons inspectors and accept lucrative bids from Halliburton for rust-mining rights. Extreme Bush critics insist that Mars is nothing more than a puppet government and that the Mars Earth war was fought under a Bush conspiracy to further enrich Krispy Kreme, Atkins, and Halliburton.

November: The first ever election between an incumbent president and a Super Demo-Zord ends in tragedy when the Super Demo-Zord, sensing defeat, self-destructs, destroying itself and 10 city blocks, an explosion that also claims the life of George W. Bush. Another hastily held election ends with the victory of a new American President: Arnold Shwarzenneger.

Al Queda, now in shambles, sells the rights to its name on eBay for $1.75.

December: A new full length porno is released, "Britney Does Baltimore," which features a cameo appearance by Ravens' linbacker Ray Lewis. Britney Spears' performance in the porno is disappointing to most viewers, with one critic going so far as to say "Truthfully, I think she did better acting in 'Crossroads. Decent tits though.'"

Extreme Bush critics, now with really nothing to bitch about, go back to their vegetarian lifestyles and sit around and talk about the good old "Bush hatin'" days.

Posted by Ryan at 03:38 PM | Comments (0)

Yet Another Casualty Of War

Kids can be so cruel sometimes.

Posted by Ryan at 10:57 AM | Comments (0)

January 05, 2004

Buffalo Wild Wings Made Me Fight With My Girlfriend

I half walked, half tumbled through the apartment door on Friday afternoon. I was still jet-lagged from all the Hawaii travel, so my body was sending mixed messages to my brain. On the one hand, it wanted to sleep until 2005, and on the other hand it wanted to go for a quick five mile run.

For my part, I wanted to unpack, check my mail, take a nice, long shit, and then see where to go from there.

Included in with my mail was a note from my roommate, Amy, telling me to call Buffalo Wild Wings, ASAP. Buffalo Wild Wings is where I spend a couple nights a week playing NTN trivia, eating greasy food and gargling whatever beer they're promoting as their Beer Of The Month. I couldn't for the life of me figure out what the hell they were calling me for.

It turns out, I won a Super Bowl party for me and nine friends, complete with all the Budweiser product we can drink, 100 free wings, and Bud promotional items such as tee-shirts, hats, etc. SWEET! I like to win things. Winning ROCKS!

So, I quickly churn through a mental list of people who enjoy beer, football and wings. My list includes my roommate, her boyfriend, Heidi and her husband, myself, Troy, Jim, Marc, Norm and Jeremy. There, that's 10. List completed!

You'll notice, however, that I forgot to conjure one very important name: my girlfriend, Melissa. I should note here, that Melissa didn't make the list for a few reasons, which seemed like very good reasons at the time. A) I've only seen her watch one football game in all the time I've known her. B) She works every Sunday, including Super Bowl Sunday. C) She hates beer. D) Man, I really should have fucking included her in the list anyway.

But, of course, I didn't. And, when I was talking with Melissa that night and I told her of my wonderful fortune, and, oh yeah, you're not in hallowed list of 10, things kind of went sour. A fight ensued. A fairly large fight ensued. Thankfully, it ensued over the phone. We ensued back and forth over the phone, on and off for about four hours.

It was tricky negotiating over that four hour span. We laughed. She cried. Okay, we didn't laugh, but she sure did cry. Eventually, however, as with most ridiculously stupid fights over really stupid things, we started to see just how stupid the whole fight actually was. I ended up inviting her to the Super Bowl party, and she ended up declining because, as stated earlier, she has to work Super Bowl Sunday. Well, wasn't that just a total waste of four hours in which I could have been sleeping?

We're better now. We just needed to fight. It had been several months since our last big bout over something stupid. Now we can move on to really important stuff, whatever the hell that may be.

Posted by Ryan at 10:07 AM | Comments (0)

January 02, 2004

Congress To Investigate Heightened Terror Alert

Critics Say Lack Of An Attack Indicates White House Deception

WASHINTON D.C. (Rhodes Media Services) -- Following a Christmas and New Years' Holiday Season that saw an elevated terror alert with no actual terror attacks, Congress has been called upon to investigate the White House in its possible role in fabricating warnings of massive danger (WMDs).

Speaker of the House, Dennis Hastert (Rep. -- Ill.), confirmed today that an investigation is underway to determine whether the Bush Administration falsified information leading up to the holidays in order to push for a High terror alert level "just to see if they could get away with it."

"Obviously, we take the issue of WMDs very seriously," said Hastert. "And if the White House maintains that there's credible evidence for WMDs, but nothing comes out of it, not even one measly hijacked plane, we have to ask why that is."

President George W. Bush pledged to cooperate fully with the investigation.

UPDATE: Heh. Some New Year resolutions to consider.

Posted by Ryan at 07:48 PM | Comments (0)
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