Monday, August 31, 2009

Better Him Than Me.

I walked into the gym today and the first thing I saw was a guy wincing in pain – a lot of pain. He couldn’t sit still. He was up. He was down. A trainer brought him a bag of ice and tried to calm him down. Then he called an ambulance. Dude had torn his pec. Ow! He was thirty-six. He was younger than me. I talked to his buddy and found out that the guy was going heavy at the end of his workout, which is the conventional wisdom or at least the traditional. I do the exact opposite. I warm up and go heavy while my muscles are fresh. My whole goal these days is not to get hurt, even at the expense of performance. I don’t improve the way I used to, but I’m not injuring myself either. My worst nightmare is to seriously injure myself at the gym. I’d rather get hit by a car, if I’m going to get injured. At least then I can sue somebody. I can’t imagine what it must feel like to tear a muscle, and I have zero interest in finding out. Today was back day, and I’ve been more and more careful with my back routine since the last time I pulled a muscle. I ramped up the safety to levels previously unheard of after seeing this guy writhing in pain. I can’t remember the last time I was this conscious of my form and technique. It wound up being a really good session. I did change the order of some things. I started with abs, which made the planks, crunches, and leg raises much less agonizing. I normally do abs dead friggin’ last, on my way out of the gym. Strangely enough the fatigued stomach muscles didn’t bother me until the second half hour of my cardio. I had no idea how much my core stabilizes me on the elliptical machine. Considering that I drove myself home without any need for surgery, I’m going to call this a good day.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

All I Need Are Some Tasty Waves, A Cool Buzz, and I'm Fine

We started today celebrating CG’s birthday with blueberry pancakes and turkey sausage. What’s funny is that I’m the only one who won’t buy turkey sausage, but I’m also the only one that will eat it. After breakfast we went to the Towne Center for the, bar none, most unsuccessful shopping trip ever. MJ needed some school supplies, some new clothes, and some new shoes. We went to Target, Staples, JoAnn’s, DSW, and Talbot’s. Nothing was bought. No commerce took place. However, we did have family fun time for just the cost of gas so it was worth it. We got home, LMJ had some lunch, and then it was nap time – at least for two of us. MJ took the opportunity to go to Starbucks to grade some papers. She was required to give her students a timed writing this first week of school and she doesn’t want to get behind. I can totally understand that. Unfortunately for my parents, LMJ and I slept through their phone call, and they were stuck at European Street drinking beer. Oh the horror. Fortunately, I woke up before they headed back to Orange Park, and they were able to come hang out with their granddaughter and get introduced to the wonder that is the Backyardigans. After the visit, we headed east. I’m starting to dread when it gets too cold and too dark too early to make an afternoon trip to the beach practical. The fact that EJG and JSG are starting to catch the bug isn’t making it any easier. We stayed late tonight, well after sunset, and enjoyed every moment of it. I really did not want to leave. My mom wondered if living at the beach would take away a lot of the joy of being at the beach. If it would just become something we would take for granted. She wondered this because we were talking about living at the beach while she was visiting this afternoon. I think this is starting to become an obsession with me, but I know that if I had a place at the beach I would not have a job – at least not the job I have now. I could see myself becoming Jeff Spicoli and being fine with it.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Sexy Motherpucker

I saw this in Target this morning and had a couple of thoughts. As a proud father of a far into the future but not really that far into the future teenage daughter I laughed at first and then I asked a Targeter, or whatever Target employees call themselves, where I could find some chains and padlocks so I could chain all the exits shut and set the building on fire. I’m having a really weird experience with this. I laugh every time I think about “Sexy Motherpucker” because dirty puns are funny, but then I’m immediately haunted by thoughts of my daughter and sympathy for dads of current teenaged girls. If the makers of this lip balm were rounded up and tortured to death with pears of anguish I’d have a hard time finding the perpetrators guilty. When and if the victims distant relatives – because all relations up to and including first cousins once removed would have been murdered – asked me how I could have found the defendants not guilty I would answer them with a question of my own, which people really enjoy, “They named their cheap knockoff wannabe Chapstick something I don’t think would get past the Cinemax censors as a movie title and marketed it to teenage girls. What did they think was going to happen?” Just because people don’t anticipate a drastic overreaction doesn’t mean that one won’t happen. It also doesn’t mean that drastic overreactions are wrong by default. Overreaction just illustrates a certain point of view, especially when it comes to loving fathers and their daughters. Right now I’m trying to think of an atrocity that I wouldn’t commit to protect LMJ. Yep, that’s about it, the whole list. I think what offends me most is that I expected to have a few more years being a barking dog sitting on a porch. I didn’t think being a dad would start to trump being a dog this soon. She’s two. I thought I had eight more years before I was at DEFCON 1 about these kinds of things. Now I have to join the NRA to make sure you liberals don’t take away my God given right to rain down lead depleted uranium in a manner consistent with protecting my family and my peace of mind. God bless Samuel Colt.

Friday, August 28, 2009


MJ made me read a post from Dooce, who rants about the crappy service she got when her brand new $1300 washer broke. Dooce interspersed the piece with the emails she expected to get from whiny bitches with nothing better to do. Even after the preemptive quit your whiny bitching you whiny bitches, she still got a bunch of comments from that seemingly disaffected group. She had a bad day and wrote about it, and was justified in her anger. What I don’t get, and maybe it’s me, is people who are offended by what they read on a mommy blog, or any other blog for that matter, and feel the need to scold the writer. In the history of the world has screaming at someone that they’re wrong ever changed anyone’s mind? Also, even in this modern instantaneous world, if something is written on a page the writer thought about it and the text reflects how he or she felt at the time. It’s a mommy blog written by a woman with a biting sarcastic sense of humor. How do people take this stuff so seriously? The only reason I’m writing about it now is because I have to write about something tonight and I’m worried that these people vote. I’m also concerned about people that think Dooce’s calling out Maytag on twitter is cyber bullying. A mommy can’t bully a Fortune 500 company, especially one who talks about how she and her husband saved for the brand new washer and the ten year guaranty. I don’t care how “influential” she is. Money talks, BS runs the marathon (Nino Brown). Just because she got her washer fixed doesn’t mean she was a bully. It means Maytag took two months to fix a product under warranty that was purchased less than six months ago. I’m surprised Maytag, of all companies, had bad customer service. Their whole pitch is that their stuff never breaks; therefore their lone repairman never has any work to do. It would be different if she had bought an Eastern European washer off the back of a truck. I just worry about the future of America when large numbers of people both read a mommy blog and side with the corporation.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Proud Papa

We went to My Gym tonight. We moved it to Thursday from Monday because of MJ’s schedule. Mondays would be a little bit too hectic. Tonight was more crowded than it’s been before. I don’t know if there were significantly more children but there were a lot more double parents. I think I get more out the My Gym experience than LMJ does. It’s an hour of me being silly around her in front of other people and letting her learn to be independent. Every single week she amazes me by doing things I didn’t think she was capable of doing. We still have a little bit of a problem with socialization but she’s getting better every week. She’s not afraid of the other kids or shy. I think she really couldn’t give less of a crap about what anyone else is doing, but she’s not treating the other kids like they were zombies or lepers and that’s progress. I think it’s wonderful that those other children are playing on the swings, good for them. Right now I’m climbing on this hot dog thing, and when I’m done I’m going to bounce on the trampoline. She was more comfortable in the ball pit than she’s been before and she stood her ground on the clubhouse/sliding board ladder. Towards the end of the hour tonight the coaches set up an exercise where they would hand a child a ring, and the child was supposed to pretend the ring was a steering wheel and run as fast they could and drop the steering wheel ring on top of an orange traffic cone. The kids ranged in age from about three months younger than LMJ to about six months older, I’m guessing. She was the only one to remember that the ring was supposed to be a steering wheel. And yes, the whole point of that story was to illustrate – once again – that my baby is better than all the other babies.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

An Evolution Revolution

I think about human evolution. Sometimes I think that it has ground to a halt because of modern medicine. Natural selection has to do more with who dies than who lives, and thanks to advances in medicine no one dies anymore. Ted Kennedy died this week at seventy-seven years old, and my first thought was that he was so young. Centenarians are the fastest growing segment of the population. LMJ and baby girls born the same year she was have life expectancies of a hundred and twelve. Diseases that used to keep the population strong have been wiped out. There’s a website that chronicles twelve deadly diseases that were cured during the 20th century. People that weren’t supposed to grow up at all are now reproducing and passing on their weak genes, effectively ending natural selection.

At the other end of the evolutionary spectrum, and what prompted this post, is the increase in size of humans. I was looking at Florida State’s football roster and getting frustrated because they have two freshman defensive ends under 270lbs. I’m upset because a 6’5” 255lb. eighteen year old isn’t big enough. That’s insane. The size of football players has gone up almost thirty percent in the last twenty years. That’s 1989. The Redskins had the Hogs. They were by far the largest offensive line in the history of football. Only two of them weighed more than 300lbs. Now, in 2009, you won’t find an offensive lineman in the NFL that weighs less than 320lbs., and they’re a lot more agile than the lineman were twenty years ago. They not only got bigger, they got stronger and faster. Good nutrition is part of it but not all of it. We may be changing the way evolution works. We may be on our way to becoming giants, but giants with managed ailments. A thousand years from now everyone may be eight feet tall and run thirty-five miles an hour, but we’ll all have type 1 diabetes. Damned high fructose corn syrup.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

I'm Overthinking This Aren't I?

LMJ has been introduced to The Jungle Book – Disney’s version not Kipling’s. I think we’ll wait until she’s about five or six for the book. She loves the movie even though there a couple parts that scare her. Since she’s watching it, I’m watching it, and even though it’s my favorite Disney movie, I’m starting to pick it apart. I didn’t want to but my brain didn’t ask me. I don’t have a problem with Mowgli being raised by wolves or the whole pack bitching out because one tiger happens to be back in the neighborhood. The problem I have, that gets my mind spinning, is with the ages of everyone involved. They find Mowgli when he’s a baby and skip ahead to when he’s about to hit puberty. I assume he’s about to hit puberty because he’s mesmerized by a girl getting water and completely forgets about how much he loves his jungle life. Man does that hit home? If Mowgli is ten, which is as young as can be plausible, that means Bagheera and Shere Khan are at least ten, and ten year old jungle cats are old. Some other panther and some other tiger would have most likely solved everyone’s problems along the way. It’s the circle of life. His wolf brothers are still puppies, when in reality they reach adulthood in a little over a year. I don’t have a problem with a wolf nursing him, milk is milk, and we’re all one big happy mammalian family, but when the litter moves to solid food he’s going to have to start licking his wolf mother’s face so she’ll vomit meat in his mouth. Also, wolves’ stomachs are filled with battery acid for all intents and purposes. They scavenge as much as they hunt, and I don’t think Mowgli’s digestive system is up for carrion. Rotten meat tends to kill humans. Does Mowgli mark his territory in the traditional canine fashion? Male humans can’t just start and stop, it stings. These thoughts are just the tip of the iceberg. I won’t get into the jungle bugs and his exposed skin. I have to go douse myself in deet just thinking about it.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Double Down

As it turns out, today wasn’t that different for me, but then I had only had two days off and not two months. I hit the gym early and decided to increase the dosage of pain. Legs were on the schedule today, and I decided to do a double dose of cardio. I don’t lift heavy with my legs anymore because I’m old and falling apart. I kind of miss the rush of the near death experience I get from a set of heavy squats, but all that’s gotten me since I turned thirty-five is injury and frustration. I went light weight with high repetitions and I discovered a whole new Marquis de Sade level of pain. I’ve been lifting (semi)seriously for almost twenty-five years and it never occurred to me what would happen if I forced a bunch of oxygen depleted blood into my thighs. I’ve done this to every other major muscle group and I’ve learned to like it. I don’t know if I can do that with my thighs. The muscles take up too much space and I can’t really rest them since I have to use them to walk. Pride is the only thing that stopped me from falling down and curling up into the fetal position. I only did one set of these and then moved on to leg curls. I spent two hours on the elliptical. Mainly because I ate too much over the weekend and needed to jump start my weight loss. It’s something that I needed to do anyway. An hour a day isn’t going to get me ready for a triathlon. The workout was easier than my normal workout because I paced myself so I could get through the whole two hours. I cruised through the first 115 minutes. The last five minutes were frustrating because I hit a bad patch of music. I’m good for ninety minutes no matter what mood I’m in, but that last half hour gets dicey. I found myself counting minutes and wishing songs would hurry up. I’m going to have to figure something out. I’m really tired but my legs don’t hurt yet. I’m keeping hydrated and I stretched for a full half an hour. I’m looking forward to tomorrow.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Tomorrow Is A Whole New World

LMJ started today off by not falling asleep last night until almost eleven. Then she woke up at her regular time this morning, and I knew that the day was going to be off. I was hoping that she would sleep at least until eight, and we would shorten the late afternoon nap to try to get things back on schedule for tomorrow. MJ goes back to work tomorrow and the absolute last thing we need is an off schedule little girl. I think we managed the situation but we had to cancel her grandparents’ visit. I was severely grumpy all day. I don’t like being on a schedule, but if I am on a schedule I like having it disrupted even less. We wound up going to the beach to help lighten everyone’s mood, stopping on the way at the Towne Center so MJ could find something to wear for her first day. We probably just missed seeing you guys, since everyone in creation was there. Literally. All seven billion of us. Luckily we got a really good parking spot. MJ ran in to some store and saw that all their stuff sucked. After we finally got to the beach, we found it crowded just like the Towne Center. We had to pitch our tent next to some obnoxious family making a bunch of noise, and by obnoxious, I mean they were having fun. They were under a Florida Gator tent and sounded local, yet some of the men don’t seem to have gotten the memo on the damaging effects of the Florida sun. They had old school fire engine red sun burns all over their backs. Come on guys, it’s 2009. Feel free to mix in some SPF 30 at least. The whole crew left after about an hour, and we had some breathing space on the beach. Even with the space, the shadows of Hurricane Bill’s storm surge made the weather and water a little bit rougher than we’re used to. It was Christmas in August for the surfers, but the water didn’t set up well for us boogey boarders. So we snacked and got Joseph’s pizza on the way home. It was good, and I bet it’s a fun dining experience, but it’s not Moon River. This was definitely the least fun I’ve had at the beach this summer without being chased away by thunder and lightning, but it was still a very good day. Summer may not officially end until the middle of September, but today is the end of an era. See you next June.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

No I'm Not Stoned.

Today felt like fall to me. The temperature was below incinerate and it was gray. Comcast came to some type of accord with the NFL so now I have the NFL Network and 24 hours of football every day. I love the change of seasons and I’m about done with summer. I’m looking forward to football games that count and daily highs of 82 degrees Fahrenheit instead of Celsius. I think MJ may have felt the autumn too because she was in the mood for tempura. Deep fried? Yes, please. We always seem to have tempura as the seasons turn from summer to fall. The females went to Publix to get the fixings while I heated up the oil. MJ made the sauce while I fried the shrimp, broccoli, sweet potatoes, onions, green peppers, bananas, and chicken. It was all delicious. I don’t use any candy ass panko because it’s a crutch and I can’t win with that dish. Look, I’m not here to make friends. When no one was looking, I dropped some Hebrew National Franks into Jesus. I call the deep fryer Jesus because it’s the truth. I don’t know if the Japanese have batter fried some hot dogs yet, but I’m certain they’d be down with it. They take everything to the nth degree. I watched Andrew Zimmern try some mayonnaise soup at a mayonnaise restaurant in Tokyo. Any country where a mayonnaise restaurant is financially viable wouldn’t think twice about some lips and assholes tempura. The dogs were exactly what you would expect them to be: heavy, greasy, and delicious. CG tried one – big ups to her. MJ was offended, like I sold out the Franks in their attic. I didn’t sell them out, I deep fried them. Get it? It’s Anne Frank Holocaust humor. See hot dogs are also called franks. Is this thing on? Maybe I need a better filter on my brain. MJ pointed out the irony of me being upset that my dad was in the hospital yesterday with chest pains and insanely high blood pressure, yet here I am a day later deep frying hot dogs. I’m not listening to her because she came home without my malt liquor. If she had ever loved me she would have driven to Georgia and gotten me a couple of forties, but alas, at least I have my Hebrew nitrates, which I know are healthy because they say pareve right there on the package.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Busy Busy Day

I did real work today. I chased a baby girl all over creation for ten hours. It has been a few months since I had this duty and I had completely forgotten how hard it is. I didn’t notice how hard it was while I was doing it. It wasn’t until she went to Target with her mother and grandmother that I realized how exhausted I am. It’s more mental than physical. I had forgotten that when there’s no one to hand the baby off to, there’s no one to hand the baby off to. Today was also one of the best days I’ve had all summer. LMJ is a bundle of fun and imagination. We went to Disneyworld today, including stops at Animal Kingdom to see the tigers (rawwrrr) and to ride the dinosaurs, and Magic Kingdom to see Mickey Mouse and his crew, to ride Dumbo the Elephant, and to ride the Magic Carpets. We went to Publix to get some cheese and fruit – she doesn’t know about wine yet but she may be on her way to becoming a sommelier. We went to the zoo. We rode horses. We went to work and we went to school. All of this happened in her imagination. I was just along, happily, for the ride. In reality we went to the park where she still treats other kids like they’re trying to rob her. The funniest part for me was eavesdropping on a conversation two moms were having. It wasn’t really a conversation. It was a White mom talking to a Chinese (not Chinese-American) mom about all things Chinese. About somebody she knows who’s been to Beijing (she pronounced it Beiy-Ching), about Hong Kong, it was a little embarrassing. The Chinese mom, who lives down the street from us, which is how I know she’s not Chinese-American, is American enough to nod and mmmm as the knuckleheaded mom rambled on. After walking to the park and playing, LMJ had no intention of walking home. I dodged her and made her chase me half way home before she realized it wasn’t a game and that she was being tricked. At which point she stopped and asked me very nicely to carry her. The rest of the day flew by with her being the sweetest two year old girl in the world, and me realizing how lucky I am to spend this much time with her. But now I need a drink.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Lightning Bolt

Usain Bolt must either be from outer space or the future or most likely both. The first X-Men movie starts with Jean-Luc Picard saying, “Mutation: it is the key to our evolution. It has enabled us to evolve from a single-celled organism into the dominant species on the planet. This process is slow, and normally taking thousands and thousands of years. But every few hundred millennia, evolution leaps forward.” That’s this guy. He’s obliterating records that have, historically, moved glacially, and about five years before his physical prime. Most sprint records are broken by one or two 1/100ths of a second once every two or three years by guys in their late twenties. He’s about to turn twenty-three. He’s dropped both the 100m and 200m world records by .11 seconds since he broke them both a year ago at the Olympics. It took the rest of the world twenty-five years to lower these two world records as much as he has in the last thirteen months. He’s too young to have good technique, and he’s no where near as strong as he can be. People are speculating that he could run faster than nineteen seconds flat in the 200m before he’s done. That would have been considered physically impossible by a human being just ten years ago. I’m so excited about this guy because he’s pushing human achievement to a new plateau, and he’s doing it in a pure sport. He’s an individual in a lane running as fast as he can. There are no polls or politics, no strength of schedule, no real strategy. It’s just him and the clock. The only thing that dampens my enthusiasm is the specter of steroids and other performance enhancing drugs, whose presence in professional team sports doesn’t bother me. I wish the Jaguars were on PED’s, but I pray that the Lightning Bolt is just hopped up on Jamaican yams becuase a dirty test will justify all the cynics' raised eyebrows, including mine. I haven’t been this jacked up about an athlete since Michael Jordan came back from his broken foot in 1986. Usain Bolt wasn’t even born then, but I’m interested in him for the same reason: impossible is just a state of mind.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

In The Streets He's T-Twice. The Ladies Call Him T-Nice

It’s time for a heel turn in Gainesville. It’s time for Hulk Hogan to join the NWO. I want to see Tim Tebow knock over the Gatorade table after he’s pulled in the third quarter against Charleston Southern, and when he’s asked about it after the game I want to hear him say, “I’m tryin’ ta win a Heisman up in this bitch, and Urban straight hatin’!” Better yet, I want to hear his new spiritual advisor Kevin Federline say it. Instead of Philippians 4:13 spelled out on his eye black, I want to see it spelled out in diamonds on his Paul Wall custom grill. I want him to get a huge tattoo on his back that reads “Only God Can Judge Me” above a giant crucifix. I want to see Tebow scramble for a first down on third and long against Tennessee that ices the game for the Gators, and cold cock Lane Kiffin, a reverse Woody Hayes. I want to see Tebow stand up at the press conference after he posts bail wearing a t-shirt with “Snitches Get Stitches” written on the front, take it off, turn around, and show his back tattoo. I want Jessica Simpson to become a Gator fan all of a sudden, and right before the SEC Championship game announce that she’s pregnant with Tebow’s baby. I want to see a strangely shaken Erin Andrews ask Tim about it, and he’ll produce a medical record of his vasectomy performed in the Philippines three years ago. The cameras will go back to the ESPN studios with a strangely angry Bonnie Bernstein filling in for Chris Fowler. The college football season will end with the undefeated Florida State Seminoles beating Southern Cal for the BCS Championship, and Bobby Bowden riding off into the sunset with a third title. Unfortunately, I think that last sentence might be the most ridiculous thing in this piece.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

I Told You I Was Going To Do Some Dumb S**t.

Holy mother of all that’s Jack LaLanne did I over do it today. I haven’t been this close to vomiting in the gym in more than two years. That’s what I get for not fueling up correctly. Instead of having breakfast and lunch, I sort of had brunch, but not omelet and mimosa kind of brunch. It was the protein bar meal replacement sort of brunch. I didn’t feel like going to the gym but I missed yesterday so today was mandatory. I had a really good session of weights. I blasted my back and rear delts. I can tell that I’m losing weight because my pull ups were very easy and my shorts are starting to fall off. It’s a good thing I went with the bike shorts as underwear instead of the g-string, which is MJ’s favorite. I finished my weights and everything was going well until I ran back up the steps after getting my iPod. All of a sudden I had to burp, and it was the kind of burp that wouldn’t really come all the way up. Hopping on the elliptical machine didn’t help. At twenty minutes in I thought the Met-Rx bar was coming back up. I had to battle it for the remaining forty minutes, but I wasn’t going to use nausea as an excuse. It’s like Arnold said, “I’ve thrown up many times in the gym.” I used the heart monitor on the machine to make sure I wasn’t going to die, even though getting mouth-to-mouth from the chick that was on duty wouldn’t have been the worst thing in the world. I hate the heart monitor on the machines because they’re in weird uncomfortable places. I may start wearing my Garmin just for the heart monitoring comfort. When I was done – I even went through the cool down, which I never do – I was surprised to see that I hit all my goals. I thought I’d had a really crappy hour. Unfortunately, my heart didn’t want to slow down, and it took about five minutes before I felt good enough to do my abs. Today was a repeat of a lesson that I seem determined not to learn: nutrition is everything.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Doing Dumb S**t

I’m at a strange point. I’m going to do something really stupid in the next month or so and there’s really nothing I can do about it. It’s part of some weird biorhythm or life cycle. Everybody goes through them, or at least men do. I have a buddy whose wife went out of town and he decided that tequila was a good idea. It wasn’t. He woke up the next Saturday morning with a hangover that felt like he’d been kicked in the head by a burro. He knew it was a bad idea going in, but he was helpless. He was at the mercy of his testosterone fueled stupidity, which is the most common form of stupidity among men and boys – fun fact. This is where I am right now. Yesterday I discovered, the greatest thing in the history of the interwebs. Nothing good can come of this. There is no chance this will end well. At some point over the next six to eight weeks I’m going to walk into a convenience store – because Publix doesn’t sell it – and buy a quart of malt liquor, most likely St. Ides. I threw grew up on it. My stomach is upset just thinking about it. It’s so bad. There are strong beers that are technically malt liquors that are very good. Fin du Monde is something like 12% alcohol but it was made with love. St. Ides is ghetto swill, but that’s probably why it’s been 99¢ a forty for more than twenty years. The last time this happened I chickened out came to my senses and didn’t drink it. It sat in the back of my fridge for about five years. I think the only reason it isn’t still there is because we got a new fridge. I can still smell it from when I poured it down the sink. But as I sit here with vomit and diarrhea echoes, I’m thinking yep, might as well get it over with. Sometimes it’s hard being a guy.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Unexpected Historic Sports Weekend.

This was a very interesting sports weekend. Tiger Woods choked away a two stroke lead on the final eighteen holes of the PGA. Usain Bolt ran a ridiculous 9.58 in the 100m. And Chritiane “Cyborg” Santos beat the hell out Gina Carano. This was the first time Tiger Woods didn’t close the deal in a major championship with a 54 hole lead. A guy named Y.E. Yang beat him. I have no idea who that is at this point. Maybe he’ll be the guy that golf has been looking for for more than a decade to consistently challenge Eldrick. I didn’t see any of this happen for a number of reasons: it’s golf and I’m heterosexual, football was on, even if it was a repeat of a preseason game played on Wednesday, and I went to the beach.

Usain Bolt ran a 9.58 100m. You remember him. He’s the one who showboated his way to Olympic gold in the same event last summer. This time he put some effort into the race. Just for the lulz I guess. I didn’t think that was possible for a human. I didn’t think that was possible for anything on two legs: kangaroo, roadrunner, ostrich, velociraptor. To put how fast he ran in perspective, he ran from the goal line of a football field through the back of the end zone at the other end of the field in 9.58 seconds. His top speed is close to 30mph. Try to ride a bike that fast – down a hill.

Cyborg Santos pummeled Gina Carano into submission Saturday for the title of best woman fighter in the world. I’ve always been an MMA fan and never a fan of a particular fighter. This was the first time that I can remember that I really picked sides. The only reason I picked sides is because Gina Carano is hot and smart and funny and could kill me in about 1000 different ways with her bare hands, while Cyborg is smart and funny and could kill me in about 1001 different ways but she was created in some pit in Mordor. I tried to deny my sexism but I couldn’t do it. Oh well, there’s always the rematch.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

I Love The Smell of Bert's Bees in The Morning; It Smells Like Early Middle Age.

I remember when Dennis Miller had one of his political shows on one of the NBC’s or Fox News, and he mentioned that one thing he liked about Dick Cheney was that Cheney “croaked bad guys”. No he didn’t. Army Rangers croak bad guys. Navy Seals croak bad guys. Dick Cheney took draft deferments then made stuff up to start wars and get his friends rich. The point is Cheney was never a real badass. Miller’s comment offended me. If I had been in any kind of Special Forces it would have disgusted me, which brings me to a series of Facebook status updates I’ve read over the past few days. Bragging about how much beer you’re drinking – especially if the number is three - when you’re a thirty-seven year old mother on your way to see Dave Matthews Band on Facebook like you’re a Hell’s Angel at Altamont disgusts me. You’re not cool. Dave Matthews isn’t cool. He’s neat. There are going to be a whole bunch of thirty-seven year old mothers who dragged their husbands in the crowd, and they won’t even be the La Leche crew. They’re going to be the J. Crew. You’re not going to see Slayer. You’re not going to see The Grateful Dead. You’re not even going to see Bruce Springsteen. You’re going to see a very nice boy play some very nice songs. Stop putting on airs about what you are. If I have accepted the fact that I’m a dad, then you should accept that you’re a mom. I got a preferred rating on my life insurance. That’s thirty-eight year old dad cool. I got twenty-four miles to the gallon on my last tank of gas in a Honda Accord. That’s thirty-eight year old dad cool. I took my baby girl to Disney World for the first time. That’s thirty-eight year old dad cool. At one point in my life I was a rock star. I’ve bought beer at 5:30 in the morning 300 miles from where I started, pissed that the sun was coming up, and even more pissed that McDonalds wasn’t open yet. If I did that now I’d think about a twelve step program. I definitely wouldn’t brag about it on Facebook.

Friday, August 14, 2009

May The Best Thing That Happens To You This Year Be The Worst Thing That Happens To You Next Year

I was drinking my coffee and surfing porn on the internet morning like I always do when MJ mentioned that it was her last day of vacation. She had the brilliant idea to go to the beach so we did. The only toy we brought along was a Frisbee. I never really thought about the skill needed to throw a Frisbee, especially into the wind – mostly because I’m not a stoner loser. We played on the beach and LMJ was standing between us. When MJ threw it, she was upwind and looked like all she was missing was a dog with a bandana. Her tosses were straight and level and cleared the baby girl’s head effortlessly. When I threw the Frisbee, I mostly got wounded ducks, and no matter how hard I tried, the damn thing kept seeking LMJ. It was miracle she never got hit. She was completely oblivious to the whole thing. The Frisbee would miss her by two inches, she would look up from the sand and shells she was examining, and say “sorry”. I didn’t realize the problem was the wind until we took a snack break and we switched places. Now I was the one feeling out of place without my tie-dye shirt. We switched back because MJ wasn’t really interested in trying or running. After a while we quit because we were getting Frisbee throwing injuries on our fingers. Yes, we’re hardcore – hoorah! This has been an interesting summer. I think we’ve had more fun and more enjoyable moments this summer than we have since high school, but it was also one of the most uncomfortable summers at the same time. From money being tight to asshole plumbers making our lives difficult and asking to get paid for it, I can’t remember being as stressed as I have been this summer. I’m really glad that I’ve been writing all of the good stuff down because I don’t think I would remember these past few months as fun if I hadn’t. I have to laugh because this might be one of the more uneasy patches in our lives and we spent the whole time playing in the surf. We may be living an Irish proverb.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

DON'T TREAD ON...wait, that's mine.

It was gun day in the New York Times. The first gun story I read was about people going to town halls packing. Gail Collins, the columnist, thinks that a room full of agitated people would be the last place a loaded gun would be welcome. Where you from, Gail? The gun enthusiasts think different. William Kostric showed up at a town hall with a sidearm. He didn’t have a permit for the gun, but he didn’t need one because it wasn’t concealed. It was in a holster strapped to his leg. He thinks guns are defensive weapons, which makes me wonder what he thinks an offensive weapon is. The funny part of the story is about badass Americans standing up and their guns falling out of wherever they had been crammed and onto the floor. My favorite saying right now is, “Just because you bought a gun, it doesn’t mean you’re Jason Bourne.” I love that these Barney Fifes truly believe in their heart of hearts that they’re ready to take on the Marines if things get hectic. I almost wish it would happen just to see the looks on their faces when the tanks (plural) turned into their cul du sac. I watched the Gunny hit a truck from 25 miles away in an Abrams tank. The main gun fires four shells at once with different trajectories so they all get to the thing that’s about to be dead at the same time. I guess the technology isn’t there yet to unleash more hatred at once. However, I believe in these wannabe Yosemite Sams’ absolute rights to carry whatever they want to carry, which brings me to the other story I saw in the Times today. A 72 year old guy killed two robbers and wounded two others with a shotgun at his place of business in Harlem after the robbers began pistol whipping his employee. His shotgun wasn’t registered. The mayor and district attorney tried to exploit Plaxico Burress shooting himself in the leg with an unregistered gun by guaranteeing prison time. Now they may be stuck because they may have to prosecute the 72 year old for defending his life and the life of his employee or look like they targeted Burress because of his celebrity. It serves them right for being douche bag politicians, but I don’t want to see this old guy get anything other than a parade.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

I've Reached The End.

I went on a long, for me anyway, ride this morning. I rode about seventeen and a half miles, all under control so it wasn’t really difficult. The hardest part was trying to find somewhere to go without backtracking. I rode for about an hour and a half, and my goal was to ride for a full two hours but I ran out of places I wasn’t deathly afraid of getting lost, run over by a bad driver, or killed because I wound up in the wrong neighborhood. Just as when I wonder where and when the serious runners run, I wonder where serious the cyclists ride. I rode from my house through Riverside and Avondale, up to the Roosevelt Publix, behind Chamblin Book Mine, through Murray Hill, across Roosevelt Blvd, through Kent Campus, back down Riverside Ave, along the river, through Memorial Park, along the Riverwalk, down to the Jacksonville Landing, across the Main Street Bridge twice, and then home the way I came. I was out of places to go. I didn’t want to ride through Ortega because there are no bike lanes and long stretches I wouldn’t feel comfortable cruising at less than fifteen miles an hour. But even if I did go through Ortega and Venetia, what do I do once I get to Roosevelt and Timiquana? Do I head south on Roosevelt towards NAS Jax and Orange Park? The road is wide and straight, but the speed limit is fifty. Is it even legal for me to ride on that strip? Do I head west towards Cecil Field? I think it’s at least ten or twelve miles of straight road, but eight or nine of it is strip malls and the limit never drops below forty. I think there may even be dedicated bike lanes, but people use them as parking spaces. MJ keeps telling me about some kind of bike park out in the middle of nowhere, but I’d have to load my bike into a vehicle and drive there. I guess this is a good problem to have from a fitness point of view. I’ve outgrown my neighborhood.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Early Worm Gets The Shin Splints

I got the full workout in this morning. It took me two hours and forty-five minutes from the time I walked out my door till the time I walked back in. I don’t know what to cut to make it any shorter. I wish those liars on television that pimp exercise equipment weren’t liars. I wish I could spend twenty minutes, three times a week and look like a bodybuilder. How are they allowed to do that, what they’re saying is a bald-faced untruth. World class runners burn about 400 calories in that time when they're racine and they have metabolisms like nuclear blast furnaces. Anyway, since I’m trying to lose weight in a healthy manner I have to get a minimum of an hour of cardio. It’s just the laws of physics. I could go the crackhead route or the bulimic route but that doesn’t really help me finish the Ironman. I can’t to the anorexic thing because I gotta get my grub on. I also don’t feel that I can cut back on my weight training. Osteoporosis is not going to happen to me, and the best way to stave it off is by resistance training and a calcium rich diet. Hangin' and Bangin' and cheeseburgers are two things I do very well. So I guess I’m stuck unless I can find a way to break up the workout into two sessions but that doesn’t really save time, it adds time because I’ll have to prep twice. As a matter of fact my workouts are going to start taking longer because I’m serious about this triathlon thing. There are lots of people doing them, and doing them well, and they find the time to run twelve miles and bike fifty in the same day six days a week. I guess I’m going to have to start getting up a lot earlier. I’m going to have to start going to bed with LMJ and setting my alarm for three in the morning so I can be at the gym when it opens at five. That’s going to suck.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Riding In The Noon Day Sun

My ankle is sore for some reason. I think it may be the start of arthritis. I destroyed my ankles playing basketball when I was a teenager and never got them looked at. They felt fine to me. I could dunk. I didn’t care if they were shaped funny. At the time I thought all my ankle injuries were sprains, but now I think I broke each of them at least once because there seems to be some calcification. Oh well. Since my ankle is sore I went for another bike ride. In addition to being easier on my legs and feet, I thought that since I could coast and would be moving more quickly the heat wouldn’t affect me as much as it does when I run. It didn’t affect me as much but I was still sucking in 92 degree air. I didn’t feel like worrying about my heart rate so I hauled ass up to the Roosevelt Publix and back as fast I could. I didn’t plan it that way when I chose to ride instead of going to the Y. I rode six and a half miles in twenty-four minutes and change. I was impressed since I got stuck for about a minute at stop lights and signs. I think the bumped up speed and corresponding danger make riding more fun and exciting than running. I cut the ride short because we’re going to My Gym with LMJ tonight and I don’t want my thighs burning too badly during the warm up. I didn’t burn as many calories as I wanted to but time was short and I’m ahead of schedule on my weight loss. I’m going to add running back in to the program when I’m under 220lbs., and speed work when I’m under 190. If my ankles cooperate and get with the program I’ll be very happy. If they don’t, f**k ‘em. Ibuprofen is cheap.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

I'm Ready For Some Football

Ahh, the world is regaining its sanity. Football is back. I’m watching the Hall of Fame game as I write this. It’s a bit of a milestone since it’s the first game since John Madden retired. I had forgotten that he had retired and I was trying to figure out what was different about this game. It took me a while before I realized that Chris Collinsworth was the color analyst to Al Michaels’s play by play announcer. I like Collinsworth, mostly because he’s not afraid to shut the hell up if he doesn’t have anything worth saying. He’s smart, he’s funny, and he isn’t into shtick yet. He also gives the best analysis on television. It’s weird watching the first game of the season. Even though it’s meaningless, it’s my favorite moment of the football season. It’s like when I hit Main Street in the Magic Kingdom.

Rod Woodson was inducted into the Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility, which makes me happy. I was never a Pittsburgh Steelers fan, but I was always a Rod Woodson fan. Personally, I think he’s the best defensive back to have ever played. He was 95% the cover corner that Deion Sanders was and 105% the football player. I thought I was the only one outside of Pittsburgh who really noticed. He was always a humble, soft spoken guy that played in a small market while Prime Time captivated America. Woodson always seemed to get lost in the glitz and glitter of his more flamboyant counterpart, and I didn’t have a whole lot of faith that the sports media that votes on the hall of fame was actually paying attention. All the beat writers that covered the teams Woodson played on would make his case as vociferously as they could, but it’s fat, lazy, national writers that actually make the decisions, and they’re much more interested in their own “genius” than paying attention. Ironically, Woodson called them out on a number of their hall of fame omissions during his entrance speech.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

This is A Post For The Broken Hearted

I’m an extremist when it comes to music. I run very hot or very cold. My intensity is lessening as I get older but the pilot light is still running on jet fuel. When I’m in the mood for a certain type of music I want to listen to the artists who are the “most” of their genre. That’s why I own a bunch of Jay-Z and Slayer and no Kanye West or Poison. However, as time goes on more and more stuff that I had written off as crap when it came out twenty years ago is making me smile when I hear it today. I’m sure it has to do with taking me back to high school and the most exciting time of my life. The group that’s chipping away at my music snobbery armor the most is Bon Jovi. It’s just a matter of time before their greatest hits are taking up space on my iPod. In high school the sound of their music made me violently angry. They sucked in ways and magnitude that I didn’t think were possible. Everything they did was contrived and cheesy. They were one of the first bands that tailored themselves for MTV and were successful. They derived the glam rock formula that lead to Nelson, Skid Row, Winger, and other wastes of skin and hair spray that helped validate Nietzsche. I never understood the fascination. Why would anyone listen to these losers when they could be listening to Zeppelin, Sabbath, Priest, or Maiden? How could Bon Jovi fans not want more: more intensity, more technical precision, more intelligence, more music, and less image? But if I hear them on the radio now I turn it up and sing. I rock out with my cock out. It’s a good thing I drive a van. Their music takes me back to driving down Roosevelt Boulevard in a 1977 Volvo Sedan at midnight on my way to a party, hoping there were going to be more girls than guys and that we weren’t the only ones with alcohol. I’m already forgetting Disney last week, but I can see, hear, and smell the Volvo like I just got out of it. We were cowboys. On steel horses we rode.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Don't Dis The Gunny

I’m bored and have nothing to write about. I want to write about college football, but I’ll just get angry. The preseason coaches’ poll, which I think is stupid, was released. The Gators, who I hate, are ranked number 1. So I’ll just try to chronicle my day. I got home early today. I took a nap. This afternoon I went to the beach. We were at the beach a long time. I think we timed it perfectly. LMJ woke up from her nap. We gave her a little something to eat. She watched a “pod” and we headed east. It was 3:30 in the afternoon and there was a wreck on the Mathews Bridge. I don’t know how anyone gets into a wreck when everyone is going the same direction with no stoplights or obstacles? It tied up traffic, and since we don’t have any patience, we drove around town trying to find the best way to get on to the Hart Bridge. It wound up taking us almost an hour to get to the beach. Once there we had a blast, and best of all, tired out the baby girl. She fell asleep, and MJ is making fun of me for watching Lock ‘n Load with R. Lee Ermy. It’s the new best show on television. Since she has a little bit of a reality TV addiction, I think her making fun of my viewing choices is a little bit of the pot calling the kettle black. When I look back at it, today was a really good day, and it should make me happy that I’m finding this really good day unremarkable. Especially when I consider that the summer is coming to an end and going to the beach on the spur of the moment soon won’t be possible. I’m also still in Disney mourning and it makes the clause in their hotel agreement stating that you will not have Disney as your permanent residence funnier. Oh well, maybe I’ll feel better after I exercise tomorrow.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Just One of Those Days

This morning was like the book Fortunately for me. I got a late start so I missed my chance to get to the gym. Then when I got to work I couldn’t find my wallet, so I drove home. Driving home was a complete waste of time because my wallet was in the car the whole time, but because of the late start and stupidity it was too late for me to get a parking space in my lot, so I decided to get in a workout. I planned on weights and the elliptical at the Y, but I couldn’t find my membership card. On a side note, when I got stuck talking to my neighbors from across the street last Saturday, the Irish author asked me why he hadn’t seen me at the "club" recently. It took me a more than a beat to figure out he was talking about the Y. Since I couldn’t find my card, and it was too late and too hot to go for a run, I decided to go for a ride on my bike. A half hour later after finding the air pump to re-inflate my tires, I started my ride through Riverside and Avondale. It was a very good ride, which I wasn’t really expecting. I rode twelve miles in just over forty-eight minutes. I guess a not quite as fat as it was ass and properly inflated tires help my riding speed. My slowest mile was 4 minutes and 38 seconds. I got home, took a shower, got re-dressed, and was about to head out the door when I checked my e-mail one last time. I had an urgent message telling me that the streets downtown around my building had been closed again for another gas leak. My office manager mentioned that the office smelled like gas. I’m on the 29th floor. I didn’t do all of the math because EXPLOSION showed up pretty early in the calculations, and I decided to work from home. So although my morning was completely shot, it all seemed to work out in the end.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The First Of Many

The baby girl has completed her first Disney trip, and while she may no longer be a rookie sensation, she isn’t quite a wily crafty veteran, but she does have unlimited upside. I love sports clichés, but I think I’ll stop. LMJ was an absolute dream the entire trip. She didn’t throw a single tantrum, and she only got upset when that retard Goofy tried to steal her waffle. I was so worried that she was going to be afraid of everything: the dark, the speed, the lack of control, the mobs of people. But the only things she really had any kind of problem with were the glorified clowns and an insane 3-D movie. I think the clowns were just too big and the movie was too jarring. She loved the Lion King show. She loved all three of the flying rides we took her on: the Tricera Top Spin, Dumbo, and Aladdin’s Magic Carpet ride. She loved the Winnie the Pooh ride. She even enjoyed the Peter Pan ride, although she thought the pirates were a little bit scary. Her favorite ride was It’s a Small World. She liked that it’s a boat ride. She liked the bright colors. And she liked dancing dolls and music. The first time we went on it, it was my favorite ride too because it was about 107 degrees outside and the ride is air conditioned and not very popular, so there was almost no line. I have no idea what we’ve done to deserve such a well behaved little girl. She didn’t fuss to stay when we wanted to go, and she didn’t fuss to go when we wanted to stay. She was patient while standing for forty-five minutes in the blistering sun waiting to get on Dumbo. The only time she wasn’t with the program was after we got off the Tricera Top Spin, which was her very first real ride, and couldn’t immediately get back on. She figured we should just change dinosaurs and go again. But that’s how we all feel, and once it was explained to her that other people got a turn she was completely cool with it. Most of all I don’t know how we’ve managed to get a toddler that doesn’t want everything she sees, especially if she can touch it. She touched everything that Disney put at her eye level – just like Disney wants – but she didn’t beg for anything and put everything down when we asked her to – not at all like Disney wants. She was excited the whole time, and woke up this morning talking about the dolls on It’s a Small World. This trip was like no other Disney trip we’ve ever taken. We skipped a whole bunch of our favorites. But seeing the baby girl as happy as she was made this a great Disney vacation. The fact that this will probably wind up being one of her least memorable trips makes it even better. I can’t wait until we go again.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The Happiest Place On Earth Once Again

Disney is always a magical experience. No one goes all out to maintain the illusion the way they do, which is truly incredible since Walt died more than forty years ago. He was rich and insane so I understand everything that he did up until Disneyworld opened, which was five years after his death, but it’s 2009 and they’ve never once cut a cost or a corner for profit over quality. It’s been forty-three years and an accountant hasn’t gotten any meaningful control. It’s the only American company that I can think of where that hasn’t happened. They don’t mind raising prices, and they’re up front about it. If you want a true Disney experience then you’re going to have to pay for it. Now come up with the $30 for your grapefruit and tap water or go hungry, which will only cost you $12.95. I’ve never run into an employee cast member with a bad attitude. Even the janitors sell the Disney experience to the maximum. That’s why I find it so easy to completely suspend my disbelief as soon as I clear the Magic Kingdom Train Station and hit Main Street USA. The sights of the shops lining the streets and Cinderella’s Castle in the background, the sounds of tens of thousands of people and the strange, unique Disney music, and the old timey warm and sugary smell of the Confectionary. I wish I could come up with another way to describe it other than magical. Even standing in line in the draining sun for ninety minutes to ride a forty-five second ride that was a C-ticket ride back in the day seems worth it for each and everyone of the twelve hundred people in line. The 1970’s special effects should be anything but special in this CGI world, but if you say you don’t love The Haunted House then you’re lying. Disneyworld, along with the beach, is another reason I really can’t see myself ever living anywhere other than Florida.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Saving Lives Everyday

One of my favorite things to do at Disney is watch Euros. Like Vincent Vega said it’s the little differences. They’re the same as Americans but instead of Florida Gator or Boston Red Sox jerseys it’s Manchester United or Real Madrid. Instead of Nikes and Reeboks it’s Lottos and Adidas. Instead of a healthy respect for the harmful rays of the sun it’s a stiff – and rapidly blistering – upper lip. This never ceases to amaze me. When I’m at Disney I wear the strongest sun tan lotion available because I know I’m going to be in direct sunlight, walking on concrete, which for ultraviolet light purposes might as well be a mirror, for a minimum of three hours at a time. It used to be SPF 30 and now that, ironically enough, the Euro stuff is available, I wear SPF 50 or 70. I’m black. Trevor and Marge are translucent. Nicole Kidman thinks they’re a little bit pale. Their hair looks like fiber optics lines. There should be an iPhone application called Melanoma Watch, because the sun beats them like they owe it money. There could be a color coded scale that shows a Euro who forgot to put on sun block as a forecast of what happens to alabaster skin after three hours in the Florida sun. It’s not a big deal in February, have fun. It’s a huge deal in August, you’ll have skin cancer before Manuel from Bayamón, Puerto Rico is done checking your European carry-all – or as they know it, a carry-all. Unfortunately, they traveled between three and five thousand miles, and they’ll be damned if they’re not going get a picture with Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy, Goofy, Pluto, and one with all of them together in front of Cinderella’s castle. EG should sell Disney his sun block sprayer idea – you’d be rich, E. There could be a sensor twenty feet from each hotel door that analyzes pigment and applies the appropriate level of Coppertone. There would also be one at the ticket gate of each park. I’m just trying to do my part.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Who Are The People In Your Neighborhood?

I took the bullet and spoke to another across the street neighbors couple last night. LMJ made the mistake of making eye contact so they crossed the street to see her. These are the last of the old school crazy neighbors, other than us. Everyone else is white bread Middle America nuclear family looking for a little something more cosmopolitan. The guy is redefining Irish literature, and the chick is just along for the ride. They’re very, very nice people, but they’re a little bit crazy. The chick is a waitress at one of my parents’ favorite restaurants, and adores my parents. They get V.I.P. treatment because of it and they let her bend their ears a little bit when they eat there. It was about seven o’clock, and MJ bailed upstairs with LMJ, with the legitimate excuse of it being LMJ’s bath time. Both of our nice neighbors were well on the way to not remembering the night, and it’s really hard to talk to drunken people when you’re sober. She spent most of the time gushing about how much she loves my parents and how she was going to help me get them relocated back to Jacksonville. Part of the problem for me is that I wished I had something to take the edge off, but we had big plans for the next day that started well before the sunrise. One plus was that I got some top notch gossip about the block; another was that it was good politics. As LMJ gets older, we can’t just continue to sit in our house like Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. Even though this couple doesn’t have kids, and aren’t going to, they’re still going to be around for a while – unless he actually does succeed in making Irish literature happy-go-lucky. At which point I’m sure he’ll pick up and move to a farm in Ireland. Although, I don’t think the Bud Light in a coozie will cut it with the Emerald Island locals no matter how up beat they become after reading his opus.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Garage Sales Tales

We sold more of our crap today, but it was different than last time. The professionals didn’t show up this morning. I think it’s the economy. It’s a lot harder right now to flip stuff for a profit quickly, so all we had were people who thought they could find a bargain on something they actually wanted. However, they showed up late. We were only going to be out there from 8 until 11, and almost nothing sold before 9:30. We were starting to panic when a couple people wanted our stove, water heater, washer, and dryer. We made about two thirds of our money in five minutes. The rest of the sale was us basically begging people to take away our garbage because we didn’t want to have to bring it back inside. We got to know some neighbors a little bit better. I don’t know their names but they live on the corner across the street. All I know about them is that the mom and dad both play for the Jacksonville Symphony, they have two cute kids, and they want way too much for their house. Anyway the little boy, who can’t be more than three, saw that a yard sale was going on and dragged his dad and his sister over to check it out. His sister is seven or eight and she was the best associate we had on the sales floor. She was mostly convincing her dad to buy stuff, but sales is about scoreboard and nothing else. I was talking to the little boy who was telling me about his two dinosaurs, Superman and Black Spiderman. “Black Spiderman” caught dad’s ear, and he started explaining to me, the large Negro, how they’d been watching Spiderman 3 and Spiderman has a “black” costume. I had to slam on my mental brakes and try to figure out why the dad was explaining all this to me because I was figuring out the best way of summarizing the last twenty-five years of Spiderman for the youngster and the significance of the Symbiote. Race relations in this country are funny.