Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Michael Jackson

I figured I might as well address the subject of Michael Jackson's death. I was holding out to be the last blogger on the planet to do so. I think I have succeeded. Its not that I don't care that Michael Jackson is dead ... well, maybe it is. I have never wished him ill, but I just can't seem to get over the amount of attention his death has received. Was he the king of pop? Sure, I guess. Did he electrify a nation with his dancing? If you say so. It is just a tad unsettling that Jacko gets more press attention than the folks that have a meaningful impact on humanity. It seems that the American public took the advice of "Don't stop 'til you get enough". I would almost say that it reminds me of when Princess Diana was killed in a car wreck in Paris. At least she poked around looking for minefields in Africa (Insert Dirty Diana reference here).

Let's take Ronald Reagan, for the sake of comparison. I was deployed to Iraq when he died so I didn't see all of the press coverage. We shall agree (for this argument) that he received the same amount of press coverage as Michael Jackson. This man brought down the iron curtain that led to a brand new way of life for generations of eastern European and Russian people.

Hmmm ... Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness or a rhinestone glove?

But Doug, think of the hundreds of millions of lives he touched with his songs. I am thinking about them. And I still don't get it. It's not even the allegations and weird rumors that swirled around him for so long (Was he truly a Smooth Criminal?). I can table that and give him the benefit of the doubt. Still ... nothing. Although, I believe that most people's opinion of MJ changed after they learned of his death. Below is a graph from graphjam.com that satirizes this.

song chart memes

Am I sorry that he is dead? Yes. Do I feel for his family? Of course. It was completely appropriate for the Black Entertainment Network to honor him at their awards show so well for the art he performed. I don't mind SirusXM playing 24 hours of non-stop Michael. If VH1 wants to play Thriller 10 times in a day, so be it. Who I don't feel for are the thousands of people that showed up outside the hospital the day he died. Fox News probably didn't need to run three hours of 'breaking news' that night. I know that media are just giving folks what they want to know more about. And, that, is the saddest commentary of all.

Rest in peace, Michael. Oh, wait! Gotta Beat It and go turn on the TV. I just heard Billy Mays died.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Diplomacy Dyslexia

It seems that President Obama has it backwards when it comes to 'meddling' in the affairs of foreign states. Specifically, he responded exactly opposite of how he should have concerning Iran and Honduras.

A couple of weeks ago, the people of Iran spoke out against a fixed election. They protested peacefully; rallying in the tens of thousands to show the theocratic government that their voices needed to be heard. President Obama's response was tepid. He didn't want to 'meddle' in their politics. While young men and women were being beaten in the streets of Tehran, the leader of the free world took a back seat, resigning himself to silence on the issue for several days. Only later did he say that he disapproved of the violence and that the voice of the Iranians should be heard.

Enter the political mess in Honduras. As Mary Anastasia O'Grady reports in an article in today's Wall Street Journal, the Honduran government followed its constitutional protocol and removed a president that was abusing the powers of his office. Following an order from their Supreme Court, the military removed President Mel Zelaya from office. Our president announces that:

We believe that the coup was not legal and that President Zelaya remains the president of Honduras, the democratically elected president there.

So, while he has no comment for the thugs in Iran who are savagely beating their populace into submission, he condemns the constitutional process unfolding in Honduras.

My guess is that as the political winds blow back in his face on this, we will see a change in tone from the White House. We can only hope that he becomes a champion of democracy for those around the world that don't have it.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Old Man River

Last week was face painting for Mason at Abacus. Apparently, he wanted to be an old man. He just kept shouting, "Get off my lawn!"

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Best Thing About Summer

I have always had a weakness for ice cream. I think I get it from my grandfather who, long ago, introduced me to vanilla ice cream and frozen strawberries. I just love the stuff. Cookies and cream, Cherry Cordial, Butter Pecan. Bring me MORE!! Favorite store brand? United Dairy Farmers. Favorite ice cream parlor? Graeters. The day we got ice cream in Iraq? Possibly the highlight of the deployment. I was reminded today of the Pakistani guy who dipped it. He would ask, "Vanilla, light strawberry or dark strawberry?" No one had the heart to tell him one of them was raspberry.

Summer brings out the best in ice cream. Super Bomb Pops, Choco Tacos, Bubble O Bill, Creamsicle, Fudgsicle, Drumsticks, Push-Pops, Chipwiches, Eskimo Pies, Klondike Bars, Ice Cream Sandwiches; you name it.
Ice cream is yummy. In a cone, dish or on a stick. It doesn't matter.

And, as you can see, the apple doesn't fall too far from the tree.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Life Lessons

Having notched 33+ years of experience I have learned a few things in life. As I share them, I hope folks can avoid some of my mistakes. Some will apply to all. Some will probably apply to none. I especially hope Mason reads these before he leaves the house in 13 short years.

1. Never mess with a guy who drives a $75 car.
2. Avoid clear tea whenever possible.
3. Nailing a dead pigeon to the door of your fraternity brother is considered a fair counter to having ones furniture removed from their room and rearranged in the parking lot.
4. Always know your audience. P.S. They could be behind you.
5. The last 12 hours of a 60 hour stretch with no sleep are not all that productive. Consider sleep as a viable alternative.
6. Appreciate the food you are served. Even if it is goat that is served to you with someone's bare hands.
7. Be nice. Until it is time not to be nice (With a nod to the B-movie Road House).
8. Good beer never arrives in a can.
9. Priority for a Port-o-let should be established by the speed at which the person approaches.
10. Just showing up for class and taking notes will probably earn you a B- with no additional studying.
11. Be confident.
12. If you see people stacking chairs, help out.
13. If you write an angry email or letter. Eat a meal, re-read it and then decide if you really want to send it, as is.
14. Jokes at one's expense are never as funny when you are picking up the tab.
15. Some math you will never use. That being said, there is no 'life impracticality' curve applied to the 'D' you get.
16. Adverbs don't mean that much, really.

Feel free to leave a comment below of life lessons that you have learned and would like to share.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Down on the Farm

This weekend we discovered a wonderful rural oasis right in the middle of suburbia. The Traders Point Creamery is a farm located on the northwest side of Indianapolis. They boast all-organic dairy and their products are sold in stores all over the country.

The farm offers a walking tour for $2 a person. You can't beat an hour's worth of entertainment for $6 (Mallory, like all kids under 3, received free admission). The site has some beautiful old buildings, wonderful pastures and beautiful old-growth trees. The tour is self-guided, so we headed out to pasture (so to speak) on our own. At 10am, we were the only ones there and it was very peaceful. The only noise was the roosters crowing and the occasional question about what was so stinky. I, however, did not mind the smell. Manure, it seems, doesn't smell so bad when in context. When passing a semi trailer full of pigs on the highway; not good. On the farm; not bad. Not great, but not bad.

Mason and Mallory enjoyed seeing the calves. Both would reach their hands out and pull them back immediately as the calves would approach.

After visiting with the calves in the barn, we set out on the walking trail to see the cows in the pasture. Everything was so green. Traders Point Creamery boasts no pesticides so flys were abundant. The cows didn't seem to mind, so we played along.

It was a wonderful way to spend Father's Day morning.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

DIY For the Adventure of It All - Part 4

As I mentioned yesterday, we decided to lay tile in the entry way. I had lots of help early on from Mason, who was intent on measuring all of the baseboards, the tile and anything else that that was laying about.

Yesterday afternoon, as I was struggling through the diagonal cuts with the thing-a-ma-jig I bought originally, I decided to call Lowe's to see if I could rent a tile saw. I figured I could spend $50, get some clean cuts and be done with it. Unfortunately, the new Lowe's that opened down the street does not rent them, bu they do sell them (of course). For $60, I got my very own tile saw. It has a 4" circular blade and a resevoir to hold water. It works like a champ. I announced my purchase to all the neighbors by cutting tile until about 10pm last night. After a trip to the water park this morning, I began again in earnest after lunch. I finished up the last cut about 4:30 this afternoon. Next is grouting, painting the baseboards, touching up the closet walls, reseting the baseboards and caulking. Sounds like a project for next weekend. I am really starting to like this tiling gig. I wonder what tile would look best in the master bath?

Saturday, June 20, 2009

DIY For The Advendture of It All - Part 3

Just a quick update tonight before I head to bed. We decided to tackle the entry way tiling project today after a trip to the Trader's Point Creamery (more on that in another post). 'Just' tiling like we did in the second bath wasn't good enough though. I made the executive decision to lay the tile on a diagonal. In case you were wondering, there is ALOT MORE tile cutting when you lay on a diagonal. On the upside, I am now the proud owner of a tile saw.

Pictures tomorrow.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Never Too Busy?

Earlier this week, I had convinced myself that I was too busy at work to attend the Father's Day lunch at Mason's school on Thursday. Before we packed up the car Thursday morning, I explained to him that Daddy had lots of work to do and that I would not be able to attend. He was upset and asked why I could not go. Work, Daddy said.

Later that morning, as I sat at my desk, I asked myself "What would happen if this stuff got done an hour later?" "Could I finish this at home tonight?" The answers were "Not much" and "Yes". So, I hopped in the car and began the 30 minute commute to Mason's school.

I walked down the hall past the cafeteria heading outside to the Father's Day picnic. Miss Marcie, Mason's teacher, opened the door and got my attention. "Mason will be so happy to see you," she said. And, he was.

"Daddy!" he yelled as he jumped into my arms. I gave him a big squeeze and asked how his day was going. We walked outside, shared a hot dog, lemonade and a couple of cookies. Then we ran around the playground playing tag and tossing a ball back and forth. All in, I was only there about 25 or 30 minutes, but every minute was wonderful. I enjoy those times with Mason and this was a good reminder of why I should take more time with him.

I am so glad I went.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Working Hard

Watch (in awe) as someone who doesn't know what 'working hard' means trying to correct someone who does.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Doug in the Presence of General Officers; Part 1

As I reflect on my army career, I would like to think that I was good at what I did. But I had my moments. I think I remember those moments more because they (more often than not) involved general officers.

So there I was. Grafenwohr, Germany; February, 1999. I was a tank platoon leader deployed to 'Graf' for a 30+ day tank gunnery exercise. The culmination of these types of exercises is the conduct of Tank Table XII, better described as a tank platoon live fire exercise. This is where I got to prove my stuff. Could I handle and direct the fire and maneuver of M1A1 Abrams main battle tanks? We were about to see.

To add some spice to the whole gunnery evaulation, my company commander informed me that the battalion commander would be trailing my platoon during the run in his tank. If that wasn't enough, he would have our Assistant Division Commander for Support, the ADC-S, with him. It just so happens that the ADC-S was none other than General Ray Odierno (the curernt commadner of all forces in Iraq). He was a promotable colonel at the time. As an artilleryman by trade, he was out at 'Graf' to check out how the guys who shoot straight do it.

So there I was. Looking out across the blanket of snow, I was checking out the three other tanks in my platoon. We were in a 'coil', forming a circle with all the tanks pointing outward for security. We were ready to begin the maneuver portion of the evaluation for Tank Table XII. Off in the distance I could see my commander in his tank; parked next to the battalion commander with the aforementioned Odierno.

My commander gave me the order to uncoil and begin maneuvering toward Range 301 where we were to conduct our live fire. Loaded with 120mm tank rounds and thousands of rounds of machine gun ammunition, we began our move.

So there I was. Perched atop my 70-ton iron death chariot, commanding combat soldiers across the German winterland. So far, so good. We were in a wedge formation with my tank in front. My wing man to my back right, my platoon sergeant to my back left about 150 meters and his wing man to his back left. We had good dispersion, the gunners were scanning their sectors and we were maintaining good radio discipline. And then I looked to the front. Something didn't compute. Cat tails. Cat tails sticking 12 inches up out of the snow about 50 meters to my front. Wait a second, I thought. Something is not right. Let's do the math. Twelve inches of cat tail plus six inches of snow. That's not right. Cat tails aren't 18 inches tall. And then, just as we were on about to be on top of them, I realized that were about to drive into a 4-5 foot drift of snow. My tank tipped forward and we fell through the snow. We were in a hole.

This was not going well.

So there I was ... in a ditch. We went in hard. "Is everyone alive in there?" my platoon sergeant asked over the radio. He didn't even bother with call signs. "Roger," I responded. I told my driver to punch it. Use all 1,500 horsepower to get us out. What I didn't take into account was that the hot exhaust was melting the snow behind the tank and it was filling the hole we had created. As my driver pulled back on the throttle, the tracks spun quickly, acting as paddles, pushing all of the water toward the back of the hole. The water rushed back, up and over the top of the tank drenching me with muddy water.

This was really not going well.

Gunning the engine didn't work. Let's try it slow. We dropped the transmission into a low gear and crept forward. We moved a couple of feet and began to slip. My driver slapped it into reverse and we rocked backwards. He repeated this and it reminded me of the Pirate Ship ride at an amusement park. Back and forth we rocked, until we finally crested the lip and were back on the surface of the Earth.

I was back. I arrived at the tank range without further incident. We fired and we fired well. To top it off, a 12 inch long (and 3/4" inch diameter) steel rod broke in the breech of my main gun during the live fire. No more shooting for Doug. Fortunately, I had great tank commanders who liked to shoot.

We ended up scoring well, but some days (like that day, in particular) it isn't your day. But, there always is tomorrow.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Wii Love It!

We did it. We finally broke down and did it. We bought a Nintendo Wii (pronounced 'we'). Not having a video game system in a home I lived in for more than 15 years, I was hesitant to do so. Noel was eager to try out the game designed to act as a personal trainer. I was skeptical that it would really be a workout. I was in the Army for cryin' out loud. I did pushups, situps, ran (uphill the whole way), etc. No Super Mario Bros. video game system is going to work me out. No, sir!

So, off to Costco we went. A good friend of mine says, "if they don't sell it at Costco (Sam's Club, in his case), you don't need it". Along with two loaves of bread, five pounds of strawberries (yes, we really do go through 5lbs of strawberries before they go bad) and some tasty frozen pizzas, we headed back home.

After setting it up, Noel and I set out for a game of bowling, gearing up for our first workout. We pushed the couches out of the way and began our workout. It didn't seem that hard at first. A couple of leg lifts, some squats, bent over rows. Whatever. This isn't hard. Right?

I woke up Sunday morning realizing that I was no longer in the Army. My legs were sore; very sore. I hobbled up and down the stairs and sat awkwardly at the kitchen table. I was SORE! OUCH! Noel didn't fare much better.

I am happy to report that we are making progress. We just completed workout number three and we are still with it. The soreness is subsiding it is a fun activity for Noel and I to share. The kids love bowling and Mason loves the boxing. Rather than show you two 30-somethings sweating like out-of-shape 30-somethings, I will leave you with a clip of Mason boxing.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Introducing a Cheerleader from the Ohio State Class of 2028

Noel made beer bread today. Mmmmm, yummy beer bread. The only bottle opener we have in the house is one I have had for a long time. It plays the Ohio State fight song every time you open a bottle of beer (or when you put it on your toe).

Friday, June 12, 2009

Oh, How Times Have Changed

I don't know what made me think about a book I read in elementary school, but I mentioned it to my wife to see if she had heard about it. The book, called 'Five Chinese Brothers', is one you proabably won't find in a elementary library today. Based on a Chinese fable, it was originally published in 1938.

I remember loving this book. I bet I checked it out a dozen or more times. I read it over and over again. The blatant stereotypes and inexplicable story line were lost on me. Here is the summary from Publishers Weekly:

The beloved story of five brothers who use their special powers to rescue the
First Brother from being unfairly put to death. Ages 4-8.

Note how it says this is a book suitable for ages 4-8! Wow. I didn't bother to ask why the first brother was sentenced to die. I was just interested in how they escaped. To catch you up, the plotline is summarized as such:

(1) a little boy drowns, never to be seen again
(2) one brother is tried, arrested and sentenced to have his head cut off
(3) the people of the village assemble in the village to witness the execution where the "executioner took his sword and struck a mighty blow"
(4) the next brother was sentenced to be drowned and was thrown overboard from a boat
(5) the next brother is sentenced to be burned alive - he was tied up to a stake and set fire
(6) the next brother is sentenced to be suffocated - he's shovelled into an oven

Apparently, there is a new, watered-down version. I am sure it doesn't have the 'charm' of racial stereotypes and executions.

Amazing the things you remember from your childhood.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

I Am All For Compensation Based On Performance

In today's Wall Street Journal, they are reporting that Barney Frank (D-MA) wants new laws governing how executives are compensated. In a hearing on Capitol Hill, Frank said:
"We are not talking here about the amount. We are talking here about the structure of compensation. And I believe the structure of compensation has been flawed."

In a CNBC interview, his chief complaint was that execs were compensated heavily for risks that paid off and not 'punished' (monetarily) when those risks fail. This, he said, encourages executives to take undue risk. "Heads they win, tails they break even," he said.

I have to agree with him, but not for executives. I am more of the mind that this standard should be applied to our political class in Washington, D.C. Some simple metrics would allow us, the taxpayers, to reward those holding the purse strings for growth in our economy. For example, ecomonists agree (if that is possible) that roughly 2% to 2.5% GDP growth is optimal for the economy. Not too little (causing resession); not too much (causing inflation). Just right. If Congress hits that, bonus time. How about deficits? Is the budget balanced? And no loop holes. If we have to borrow money to pay for a war, too bad. Everyone has to sacrifice a bit during wartime. Discretionary spending counts. Non-discretionary spending counts. Trade surplus? Bonus. Unemployment under 6%? Nancy gets a killer new pant suit.

What's good for the goose, must certainly be good for the gander. Right?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

This is What Al Gore Intended When He Invented the Internet

Listed below are a few web sites that will not challenge your conviction and will not inpire you to think globally or act locally. They are just good, clean (except #3) fun. I trust you will enjoy them.

1. Awkward Family Photos - Just what the title says.
2. GraphJam - User-submitted graphs, charts, etc about everyday life
3. PhotoBomb - Caution! Some of the content on this site may be objectionable to some viewers.
4. Failblog - Ridiculous photos and videos submitted by readers
5. Cake Wrecks - When professional cake decorators get it horribly wrong
6. Why You are Fat - Food you shouldn't eat, but would order every time if it were on the menu at your favorite restaurant

Try not to spend your entire day surfing these sites. They are highly addictive and full of low-brow entertainment.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Restoring Faith in Humanity ... One Speedy Fountain Drink at a Time

On my way into work this morning, I decided to treat myself to a icy cold Coke Zero from Speedway. As it turned out, the good folks at Speedway are running a special where any size (that right, any size!) fountain drink is 89 cents. I know, I know, you want to stop reading and run out to Speedway, but not so fast.

After filling 44 fizzy ounces (remember, any size is 89 cents, so why not rock the biggest one possible, right?) of Coke into the cup, I strolled up to the counter and waited patiently while the cashier rang up the people in line ahead of me. When I got to the counter, I set my drink down and reached for my wallet ... and then reached again.

Uh oh. No wallet. Panic.

A quick accounting of where my wallet could be ... other pocket? No. Car? Probably not. Damn. The woman behind the counter stood there, confused as to why I had not produced the dollar. Sheepishly, I told her that I didn't have my wallet. I told her I would needed to leave my drink and return later with my wallet to pay.

At this point, she reached into her own pocket, pulled a dollar out and paid for my drink. She didn't just tell me to take it. She paid for my drink and said, 'just pay me back tomorrow'. I still can't believe it. This woman probably brings home 8-10 dollars an hour and volunteered her hard-earned cash. Amazing. Thank you, Tia. You are a great person and a fine example of what is right with people.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Good for You, Ruth

Today, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg delayed the sale of Chrysler pending a further review. Three pension funds from the great state of Indiana filed suit, arguing they were pushed back in the line of debt holders.

Usually, the Supreme Court gets it right, and today was no exception. Justice Ginsburg's ruling will allow a new look at the deal between Chrysler and Fiat. I am glad to see that at least one of the three branches of our government appreciates the rule of law and that when folks pay money to get a place in line (like someone who buys a secured debt in order to collect more during a fire sale) they deserve the right to stand in that line when the time comes.

President Obama has painted the debt holders as faceless hedge funds and 'greedy' Wall Street power players. In reality, the folks that owned Chrysler debt were the above-mentioned pension funds and individual debt holders that were counting on Chrysler to remain solvent. When that didn't happen, the pension fund managers are now exercising their fiduciary responsibility to the firefighters', nurses', and teachers' retirement funds they respresent.

And, Ruth, if you are reading this (I know you are an avid follower) be sure and post a comment. It is easy, just click on the button below (it looks like a pencil) to leave a quick note!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

A Weekend in Ohio

Saturday morning we set off to Ohio. Dropping Jake off at the kennel right at 7am, we headed east. We were on our way to the Columbus Zoo to visit with the Boerger clan (Noel's brother, wife and two children: Henry 5, and Baxter, 3).

We arrived in Columbus battling the throngs of obsessed golf fans travelling to see Tiger and Co. play at the Memorial Tournament, conveniently located 2 miles from the zoo. As we got out of the car, Mason spotted the MetLife blimp circling over the golf course.

Inside, we rode too many rides that spun us around in cirles and not enough rides where I could sit motionless and close my eyes. Come to think of it, I didn't ride any of those. All of the children appeared to have fun even amidst the occasional gnashing of teeth that comes with the confusion created when a child's brain is stimulated (by armadillos, bearded dragons, etc) to the point where it constantly hits the override button on the automatic nap mechanism.
Henry, Baxter and Mason pet a bearded dragon

Once all of the kids agreed that there would be no napping, we headed to Graeter's; quite possibly the best ice cream in the known universe, all hyperbole aside. I treated myself to what should have have been called 'Entirely Too Much', while the kids and Noel dined on waffle cones packed with real, honest-t0-goodness churned milk and butter fat. Soooo, tasty.

By the time we got back to the hotel at 5:30, or so, we had had transformed from Happy, All-America Family to the Walking Zombies. We had completed the Columbus Zoo Death March and were now running on empty. In our wisdom, we got the kids Happy Meals and took the back to the room. It didn't occur to us immediately that having an open chocolate milk container next to the bed would be a bad thing. Then it happened.

My drink was on the night stand next to Mallory's milk. She wanted a drink of daddy's drink and proceeded to knock her milk over in the process. At this point, it was (just) spilling onto the night stand that separated the beds ... and dripping onto the carpet.

Tired, I overreacted and jumped up to get a towel. I reset Mallory's milk, grabbed the drink out of her hand and ran for a towel. Mallory was startled and began crying. This is when she reached for my drink and knocked the chocolate milk right off the night stand. A spray of chocolate milk erupted from between the beds covering both sets of sheets, the comforters and the carpet with chocolate goodness. I think, at one point, Noel yelled out, "This is a catastrophe!" Hindsight says it wasn't but in the moment, it looked fairly dire.

Two changes of linens later, we were ready for night-night. Ahhhh, sweet pillows of Fairfield Inn. Oh how I love your down awesomeness. Then we were out.

The next morning we were up and at 'em and heading for Middletown to visit my Grandmother. She was happy to see us and we talked family and politics, her two favorite subjects. She is convinced that Obama is delivering us to Hell in a hand basket and I wasn't about to disagree (not that I wanted to). She was delighted to see the great grandkids. While I was sitting there, watching Mason on the opposite couch, I realized that I was that age when I sat on that very cushion. How time flies.

After a visit and Mallory tried on Grandma's latest crochet work, we were back on the road to Indianapolis. What a great weekend, chocolate milk and all.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Operation Overlord

Tomorrow marks the 65th anniversary of the Allied invasion of the European continent. Known as Operation Overlord, most refer to it now at D-Day. As I reflect on the sheer scope and magnatude of the operation, involving over 160,000 soldiers and 4,000 ships, I can't help but think of how those young men felt rushing toward France before dawn, bobbing up and down. Those brave soldiers and marines knew what was waiting for them on those cliffs. They had been getting intelligence updates for weeks and months. But, they went anyway.

A few probably longed for glory, others for the thrill but most went because they were told to and it was their duty. They went because the alternatives were worse; both personally and globally. I am pretty sure that not many (if any at all) knew just how horrific the Thrid Reich had become, but I believe that most felt called to action. And so they went.

Ramps dropped on beaches across northern France right at dawn with many never making it out of their boats. They pressed on; first to the shore and across the beach. The confusion must have been overwhelming. Germans surely knew they were in for it and were bringing all they had to bear down on the sand below.

Soldiers were flooding the beaches. Others were jumping from aircraft utilizting a 'new' tactic called 'airborne operations'. Together they established a foothold. And so they went, marching into they history books.

Today, we use D-Day as a cliche for the start of something. I've heard it in business and in sports. Those that use it, I feel, don't really have an appreciation for what D-Day truly was; comparing a project deadline with a day that change the course of world history. Ronald Reagan called it a "giant undertaking; unparalleled in human history."

Sixty-five years ago at this moment, young men were checking their gear, boarding boats and studying their maps. Those warriors executed violently and swiftly. They launched on D-Day and what they did was prevent any D-Day since.

God Bless those soldiers.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

An Ode to Burn Notice

Tonight at 9pm, the season premiere of Burn Notice aired on USA Network. To celebrate my favorite guilty pleasure, I have written some poems; all in haiku.

Michael Westen; Spy
Helping the disadvantaged
Got burned; Lookin' good

Fi, IRA babe
Molotov cocktails for all
Yearning for Michael

Former G-man Sam
Older babes and mojitos
Loyal to the end

Out to get Michael
Carla, bra full of trouble
Fiona resolved

Obsessive smoker
Matriarch of broken home
Cares much for Michael

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

How Many Days Left?

Is it Fall yet? No?

This is the time of year where college football fans (and fans of contact sports in general) should wear black armbands mourning the demise of all things sports. I can't get into baseball, the NBA finals will be entertaining even without the whole Kobe vs. LeBron saga and I really enjoy watching the last couple of hours of a PGA tournament on Sunday afternoon. But, it isn't college football.

Especially Buckeye Football. Noel might accuse me of becoming too emotionally vested in 19-year-olds playing a game. But, I just can't help myself. Each Fall, as the The Best Damn Band In the Land walks down the ramp and plays the Ohio State Fight Song for the first time, a rush of emotion and memories flood over me. I loved my time on campus in Columbus and each year, I get to relive those feelings 11 times (plus a bowl game!). I met my wife there. I spent countless days in the Lantern newsroom reviewing copy and assigning stories to young(er) journalism students. I was sitting in the A Deck watching Eddie George run for 314 yards vs. Illinois to cement his Heisman run. I logged countless miles with the ROTC battalion running across the Oval at six in the morning. And, yes, I did some rather goofy things with my fraternity brothers.

So, until the Scarlet and Gray kick off against Navy on September 5th at noon, I will sit here ... patiently ... waiting 94 short days.

Go Buckeyes!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Gaga for Lady GaGa

The Huber family obession (?) with Lady GaGa started, oddly enough, with a Saturday Night Live skit called 'Surgery Center'. It starred Justin Timberlake where he was dressed as a 34DD implant (you really just have to watch it). As he sang (what I guessed were) popular songs with different lyrics I wondered what they were.

Fast forward to May 12th when the family was watching Ellen DeGeneres on her talk show. Lady GaGa was the featured performer and Noel (in charge of the remote) usually skips past the singers but Ms. GaGa's piano caught her eye; so, we watched. And there it was. The first piece of the puzzle in order to solve the 'Surgery Center' song parody mystery - Poker Face, by Lady GaGa.

The kids loved it immediately. Mason got up and danced. Mallory began to move her feet from side to side on the couch. Maybe not the most appropriate lyrics for a 3-year-old, but is she really listening to them anyway? Noel and I liked it just for the fact we were now reconnected with Top 40 music for the first time since Paula Abdul hit paydirt with Straight Up in 1988.

I digress.

Lady GaGa hysteria swept the house. The kids want to watch the clip over and over. I had to go online and do vast amounts of research on Lady GaGa. Mason can now dance along with the back up dancers. Mallory requests it by name. "Poker face, Daddy." This led us to her other #1 single, Just Dance. Ah-hah! Song #2 in the great mystery. Since then, I have downloaded both songs which I have burned to CD. We listen to her songs whenever we are in the car. Will nothing shake the attention to Lady GaGa? Backyardigans? No. Imagination Movers? Heck, no. Phineas and Ferb. Are you kidding?

Lady Gaga, we know you're hot. Show us what you got.

Here is what started it all:

And, in case you were wondering, the songs parodied were:
Song 1: Smack That by Eminem, featuring Akon
Song 2: My Life Would Suck Without You by Kelly Clarkson
Song 3: Just Dance by Lady GaGa
Song 4: Poker Face by Lady GaGa
Song 5: Boom Boom Pow by The Black Eyed Peas

Monday, June 1, 2009


Okay, okay, it's not party time. But, it is potty time! So, maybe it is time to party? Mallory has found the potty ... intermittently. Abacus, Mallory's preschool, has been pushing the potty with all of the Dolphins (the name of her room). We support the daycare in all of the endeavors; especially ones that will save us $34 every time we go to Costco. We invested in a Princess Potty that plays a song when Mallory goes pee-pee. Oh, the delight of making music using a bodily function.

You go, girl!