Thursday, August 28, 2008

About The Obama Speech Tonight

I'm not sure that I have anything to add to the sentiment expressed so eloquently by the above artwork. I'd love to be able to credit the original creator but, as near as I can tell, it's been floating around the intertubes so freely the last couple of months that its much-deserved creative credit has somehow fallen through the cracks. Whoever you are, be you dude or dudette, you rock.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

So I've Got That Goin' For Me...Which Is Nice

Okay...I'm snuggling up with Zoe as I put her to bed tonight:

Me (whispering): "I've got the best little girl in the whole wide world."

Zoe (whispering): "And I've got the best Daddy in Winterville."

Gee...thanks, kid!

Monday, August 25, 2008

You Down With DNC? (Yeah, You Know Me!)

With the Democratic convention getting cranked up tonight, I figured it was time to pop off about politics again. I haven't blogged about the presidential race lately because...well, frankly...because the subject tears my nerves up. Look at where we're at now: A Republican president with historically abysmal approval ratings. Democrats holding a big lead in party self-identification. An unpopular war rages on while the economy tanks...all under George W. Bush's watch. And yet, this race is still anybody's for the taking (at least according to the polls) right now. We'll see how things shake down after Labor Day...but I still just can't see McCain shaking all the historical trends working against him in this election. Besides the bad news I just outlined, he also has meta-narratives to overcome. Young always beats old. Change always beats more of the same. Among McCain and Obama supporters, the passion gap is massive. Did you see the response to Obama after his speech in Germany? After the Biden introduction speech? Unreal. Do you see anyone straining, leaning wayyy out over the barricades, extending their fingers as far as they'll stretch...just for a touch from McCain? I mean, the answer to that isn't just "No"'s "Eww."

But here's some random junk heading into the convention:

- The Republicans are dispatching The Douchenozzle Brothers, Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney, to Denver in hopes of grabbing some press. Way to expend some political capital there, RNC. The two highest-profile flameouts from the Republican primaries. Those two, and their Sunday morning talk show ideological cronies better watch themselves. If the GOP ever wants to get an African-American vote for the next several generations or so, need to be a little more self-aware about how much open enjoyment and delight they seem to be taking while kneeing Obama in the groin.

- It's touching that Senator McCain feels so badly about Hillary being "passed over" for a spot on the Democratic ticket. Of course, he still has a slot open on his own ticket, doesn't he? It'd suit me just fine. I'm fed up with her clenched-teeth praise for Obama, anyway. Oh...and don't forget to take fucking Debra with you, too...

- I like the Biden pick...and I'm praying that McCain takes Romney. Joe would make him cry at the debate. Besides, Mittens would be a never-ending source of 30-second ad fodder.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Quick Thoughts On "The Day"

Yesterday, "The Day That Never Comes"...the first official, completed track from Metallica's upcoming Death Magnetic album was made available for download. (You can also just stream it on the 'Talllica website, if you prefer.) At first listen...and I say that after several listens, actually...I'd say "TDTNC" sounds like what would happen if "Fade To Black" and "One" had a baby that was raised on the Load album by its foster parents, "The Unforgiven" and "The Unforgiven II." That, by the way, is a compliment. The St. Anger coffee can drums are history, guitar solos are back in a big way and...good god...Het's soaring lead vocal is to die for. A very nice surprise given how strained and croaky he's sounded at just about every show this summer (except got a good one, Jamer). There's a suprisingly melodic bassline courtesy of the new guy, Robert Trujillo, and the song simply feels epic.

The biggest issue I had was with the crappy sonic quality of every online version of "TDTNC" I could find. Granted, as is the case with so many MP3s these days, it could be a compression issue. I haven't heard "TDTNC" on the radio yet...but folks on the 'Tallica message boards say that it sounds much better being broadcast. And I imagine that it will sound even better on CD, where the all of the various musical components will have room to breathe. But I'm sure not going to pay a couple of bucks for "TDTNC" on iTunes (a service I hate, anyway) to get something tinny-sounding and clippy. Again though, I gotta's a fantastic that's sure to kill live.

Death Magnetic streets on September 12. So far, so good, boys...

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

"We Are Nihilists. We Believe In NOTHING!"

Since the Georgia Bigfoot turned out to be bullshit, I'm not sure I believe in anything, either. Except maybe pro-wrestling. (sniff)

This Old Heart Of Mine [UPDATE]

I had my regular six-month check-up appointment with my cardiologist today. Things went pretty swimmingly until he remembered that, in addition to the blocked artery that was opened via angioplasty, there was a second artery that wasn't blocked yet...but one that he still thought needed to be monitored closely. He flagged me down just as I was getting ready to check out and ordered an immediate Echo Stress Test. Basically, he added an additional hour-and-a-half, much of it to be spent on a freaking treadmill, to the appointment. Great. So, I dutifully did my waiting room time (40 minutes!) before trudging once more into the echo chamber. Chest shaving ensued, along with gluing electrodes to my Sasquatchian upper-torso, smearing me with sticky goo from the ultrasound probe, and...finally...the main event, putting me on a treadmill and trying their goddamndest to make me have another heart attack.

Bottom line? It's all good. The "stented" artery from the angioplasty is holding steady and the other artery showed no signs of any additional placque or blockage. I'm fine...or I'm at least good to go for another six month. Then it'll be time for another nuclear stress test. And I've only got these twice-yearly tests and my 400-pill-per-month routine to look forward to...well...for the rest of my life, actually. If it means more time with Lauren and the kids, it's all hella worth it. Speaking of Lauren, there was one bit of terrific medical news from Dr. Agrawal today. The last thing he said to me, in fact...just as he headed out the door of the examination room: "Oh...and remember, make love every night." Sorry, baby. Doctor's orders.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Please, Lord...Let Me Have This One Thing

Offering up further proof that there's absolutely nothing they can't do, a couple of good ol' boy North Georgia shitkickers have done gone out and bagged themselves a Bigfoot. In the North Georgia mountains, no less. (Up yours, Pacific Northwest!) As you can see in the linked article, the naysayers are already out in full force...but look at that picture and tell me that's not a genuine, by-God Bigfoot. Believe me, I've seen Harry And The Hendersons enough times on HBO to know a Bigfoot when I see one. Besides, I need this to be real. The aliens are never gonna land on the White House lawn. Apparently, Nessie's never going to rise up out of the Loch and go all Cloverfield on Scotland. But is it really that much of a stretch to think there might be some kind of woolybooger out there in the woods? Come through for me, fellers. I want to believe.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Hand Over Heart, All Together Now

Juro fidelidad a la bandera
de los Estados Unidos de América,
y a la república que representa
una nación bajo Dios,
indivisible cón libertad
y justicía para todós.

Suck it, Dr. Broun.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Punch-Love Drunk

I love boxing. To me, there's nothing more exciting than the night of a big fight. Order the pay-per-view, invite some friends, pop the corn and chill the Cokes. We haven't done that in a long time...basically because there hasn't been a fight worth ordering in the last decade or so (that's a subject for another rant)...but the house parties we threw for the Bowe-Holyfield trilogy of fights are among my favorite sports memories. So you think I'd love Olympic boxing. I mean, look at the list of Team USA alumni: Evander Holyfield, Oscar De La Hoya, Joe Frazier, Sugar Ray Leonard, Pernell Whitaker, George Foreman, Roy Jones Jr., some guy named Cassius Clay...and that's barely scratching the surface.

But Olympic boxing, with its ludicrous electronic scoring system, makes me tear my hair out. There are five judges, each armed with a little gamepad-looking device that they use for tallying "clean" punches. Boxer A lands a clean punch...push Button A. It sounds simple enough...but, my god, where to begin with the glitches in scoring a fight this way? First of all, it devalues overall ring generalship and defense. What is boxing, anyway? I mean, for generations it's been nicknamed "the noble art of self-defense." What are the last instructions given by the referee before the opening bell? Is it "Remember, throw as many punches as you humanly can"?'s "Remember, defend yourself at all times."

Secondly, there are no extra points given for knockdowns. Inexplicable. Then there's the matter of flurries. What happens when there is a flurry of punches (a rapid-fire back-and-forth exchange) between the two fighters? Can any judge evaluate whether ten shots thrown in quick succession by two men are "clean" or not? Of course, that depends on the individual judge's definition of "clean"...which is another problem unto itself. I've seen this scenario countless times in the last couple of days: Boxer A throws a big shot. Boxer B gets his arm up to defend himself agains the shot. Boxer A's punch ends up landing 80% on Boxer B's arm and glancing 20% off the top of his head, harmlessly. The scoreboard tallies a point for Boxer A. Infuriating.

Yes, I know 10-point-must scoring (in which the winner of a round is awarded 10 points while the loser get 9 points or less) can be a farce and it leaves the door wide open for politics to influence the judging. But are you telling me that doesn't happen in gymnastics? In figure skating? And as these Olympic kids come through the system, learning to throw as many punches as they can per round with no regard for ring generalship, they aren't going to be worth watching by the time they matriculate to the professional ranks. Awarding fights purely on the basis of the number of punches thrown flat-out sucks. It lowers Olympic boxing, allegedly the pinnacle of amateur competition, down to the level of Toughman tournaments in backwater dives. Bring back "real" judging.

Hey, don't just take my word for it:

Farcical and Shameless Olympic Boxing Scoring Goes On.

Britain Coach Blasts Judges After 'Stupid' Scoring in Murray Defeat.

Boxing Judges Under Fire Again From Australians in Beijing.

Friday, August 1, 2008

She's Leaving Home (For A Few Hours, Anyway)

I know, I know...I promised from Jump Street that I wouldn't do any "Daddy Blogging." But this is a big event. Things are about to change and stay changed for the next 14 years. Long story short? I just can't wrap my head around Zoe starting Pre-K next week. Has it really been four years since I picked her up for the first time? All 3-pounds-and-change of her (she was born six weeks ahead of schedule). I can't stand for her to be out of my sight. When she spends the night over at "Grammy's house," I wonder what she's doing...what she's thinking...what she's eating or drinking...when she's going to she asleep yet? Does she miss me as much as I miss her? And now I'm getting ready to turn her over, for six hours every day, to people I don't know. People I've never even met (not yet, anyway).

Of course, Zoe's over the moon about the whole thing. She can't wait. She talks about all the little friends she's going to make...all of her future sleepover pals. Me? I obsess over crazy little details like, "Who's going to open those big school doors for her? Do they have somebody who does that?" Let me tell you...the folks are going to love me at Open House next week at Winterville Elementary when I whip that one out. Actually, who am I kidding? They've heard all the stupid questions many times over. They're very lucky. They're getting one swell kid in Zoe Jane Holcomb. I'm even sure that I'll eventually stop thinking about them as The Lousy Bastards Who Are Taking My Baby Girl Away.

Meanwhile, it'll be Gabey and me holding down the fort during the day. Total Sausage Fest. We'll be able to watch Superman and wrestling DVDs all day. Best of all, though? I'll be getting him dressed after lunch so we can go pick up his big sister from Pre-K. Those two....let me tell you...people ask me all the time how much I enjoy taking care of the two of them. And I always give them the same answer, "'s totally the other way around."