Thursday, June 29, 2006

Chillin' Out

When the kids are off at camp, our distractions are minimized. Picutred here is Side Track demonstating a relaxation technique for a quiet evening on the back patio, in the sun, with a beer. Ahhhh the good life!

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

At Least Thirty Four Got it Right

I was pleased to see that at least 34 of our State Senators had sense (and courage) to vote against an amendment that would prohibit burning the American Flag. Conversely, I am saddend by the weak-willed politicians who hide behind partison politics or havent' got a wit of backbone to take a common sense stand on this issue.

Yes, the Flag is a meaningful symbol, so is the Bible, the Koran, the Torah and other items of worship or respresentation. I will not deny that men, women and children have sacrificed, fought, and died for our country and the freedoms our country allows and stands for, including freedom of speech. Our flag is a symbol for the freedom of speech... and the right to bare arms for that matter. The sacrifices I refer to were for those freedoms... not the symbol. Or stated another way, these Americans did not fight and die for the flag, but rather what the flag stands for.

That said, we honor those sacrifices not by protecting a symbol, but by protecting what that symbol stands for.

If, for example, someone were to publically burn the Koran or the Torah, there would be armies of people incited enough to take up arms or declare a Fatwah against that person or those people. Consider the pillage that resulted from the cartoon characterization of Allah. Most Amercians labeled these insurrengents as zelots, radicals or religious fanatics. Many Americans vilified these people and called them radicals or extremists because they were fighting for a symbol. Many then accused these upset people of using this situation as an excuse for violence. We admonished these rebels and self-rightously opined our views and penned editorials glorifying our "freedom of speech".

Now I ask, if we were to pass an anti-flag burning amendment, would we not be throwing stones in our own glass house? Would we not be giving our government yet another vague excuse (ala WMDs and 9/11) to incite war or violence? Would we not become perceptively the same sort of "extremists" that we have ridiculed for rioting against those people who exercised freedom of speech by published charactures of Allah?

According to official sources, there were fewer than 15 cases of flag-burning in the U.S. in 2005. By comparison, how many Americans were wrongly denied health-care benefits? And, as a direct (or indirect) result of our governmenal healthcare travesty how many of those tax-paying, freedom fighting, democratic and republican Americans died? How many billions of American dollars were fraudulantly awarded or misallocated by governement agencies which directly or indirectly resulted in deminishing the quality of life that our solders fought and died for? Again, I ask how many American lives have been lost as a direct result of this mismanagement, or other governmental abuse?

Don't you think these are are the important items for our elected officials to spend time and effort debating and resolving rather than trying to whittle away at our first amendment rights?

So, to those 64 senators on the public payroll who normally (despite my polical bent) deserve some semblance of respect, I have this to say about our flag... it's a symbol, albeit an important symbol, but simply a simbol, that's it. The flag is not as important as the feedoms it represents.

And now that this amendment has rightfully been shot down, I suggest you ALL over your partison politics, stop election-year postioning, and get on with legislation that will improve our quality of life, save lives (domestically and internationally), and make this country as well as the freedoms we profess worth fighting for.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Hi Ho, Hi Ho!

It's off to camp they go! Four nights at Camp Paterson will quiet things down on the homefront.

But before the three hit the bus, we had a marshmallow roast on our new brick patio out back.

Here, you can see BD helping sweep sand into the cracks between the new pavers. For this we sorely missed the volunteer services of Mr. McCurdy, who effortlessly swept sand into the cracks of our former paver patio in Menomonee Falls.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Wed. Night

On this particular evening The Chalupa had the early softball game at 6:15 with Belly Bean playing the night game which began at 7:30. These were the 4th and 5th sporting events of the week with a 6th (soccer match) to happen this evening.

This particular action shot shows Challupa alert and ready for any type of hit from the batter. Her focus paid off later in the game when she caught a line drive in the field and then, when she got to bat, she gave Mr. Spaulding a ride just past second base! -- No Steroids, I swear.

By the end of Chalupa's game Buzz Daddy had no voice left, so he took her home and left Side Track to cheer for Belly Bean. A side note to this lost voice thing... I've noticed with an element of chagrin, that most folks seem happy that I've lost my voice. Hrumph! Go figure.

As you can see, these activities take their toll on more than just Buzz Daddy's voice. BD just couldn't keep his eyes open any longer. We was down for the count by 7:50 p.m.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Wild Kingdom

If we haven't already got enough to worry about... we can now add this raccoon to the growing list of animals that have been spotted in our yard. This guy was seen last night sniffing around our bird feeder, although I suspect he was after the suet.

Of course the dogs went a bit nuts, and Side Track was a bit skiddish about letting the cat out for the night. Well if it's not one thing, then it's another.

It's safe to say that wildlife abounds in our little 'burb up Nort. And if our family can't provide enough entertainment, then sit out on the patio for a while... something will certainly catch your attention.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Starting Up Again

The goggles were idle today, but saw some water yesterday. Slowly but surely Buzz Daddy is creeping cautiously back into his workouts. The summer race schedule was squandered by two injuries. One of which returned to add insult to... well.... injury, I guess.

It's been an on-again/off-again affair for the past two months. Ice and heat, and limping around sprinkled with some cross-training and lots of stretching.

After all this, it appears (finally) that systems are on track for a complete return to running mileage next week with hopes of resurrecting a semblance of a running season by the end of July. We shall see. But anything is better than sitting on the sidelines. That is for sure.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Yet Another Idiot Fouls off in Baseball

When did America's "favorite pastime" turn from a somewhat civilized sport to a thug-like activity? I don't know if you saw this, but White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen sent one of his pitchers to the minor leagues because he failed (refused) to throw a pitch at an opposing player to retailiate for an apparent bean-ball tossed in the previous inning.

When he pulled his pitcher into the duggout, Mr. Guillen threw a very public temper tantrum; he then declared his supreme expectation that his players retaliate when ever this sort of thing happens. I've come to the conclusion that he is not a professional manager, he's a thug. He's not a role model, he's bully. He's not a champion, he's a cheat! His behavior is not befitting to a sport rich in history and heroics. Instead it reminds me of the overly zealous parent in Bad News Bears who is nothing but a whiner and spoil sport.

If baseball didn't have enough image problems (Raphael Palmaro's famous finger pointing episode during congressional hearings claiming that he has never taken steriods, only to test positive a few weeks later. Or Barry Bonds surly behavior and the laundry list of "juicing" accusations that follow him), now we've got his black eye on the heels of championship pitcher Jason Grimsley who was recently caught and "punished" for taking human growth hormones.

So what is Bud going to do this time? It was Grimsley who "retired" immediately after this news broke to spare his team (The Arizona Diamondbacks) further embarrasement. But not to be outdone, baseball commissioner, Bud Selieg then decided to suspend Grimsley for 50 games. What the heck kind of punishment is THAT? He's already retired!

I can only hope that public outcry about Mr. Guillen's off-base remarks are heard loud and clear by Mr. Selieg and that Ozzie gets a good dose of his own medicine. If he want's to play hard ball, then Bud, your obligation is to reciprocate with equal severity. I suggest an 81 game suspension (half a season) and hefty ($200k seems about right to me) fine might be a good place to start.

Sanctioned fighting sports asside, there is no place in sport for a coach or a manager to demand his/her players to intenially harm a player from the other team. It is even more pathetic when a coach/manager punishes players for failure to intentionally harm another. Maybe I don't know about sport, but in the REAL world such behavior is felonious. In the least, this behavior is not fiting for any rational adult, much less a coach or manager, it's criminal and should be punished as such!
Guillen, you're a blight to baseball, an embarrasment to competitive sport, and a sorry sack of a person when it comes to human decency. Combined you can add your name to a growing list of idiots who tarnish the sport of baseball. Congratulations, it is a sad day in baseball indeed.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Still Undefeated

The Mankato Ice remains undefeated after last night's 5-0 route of another local team. The Chalupa had four shots on-goal with one, a near miss, hitting the outside bar. The others were summarily smothered by the attentive young goalie.

Not to be denied, Maggie orchestrated a brilliant inbound pass that eluded all defense. The assist resulted in a drilling shot by Mankato's top goal-maker for one of her five goals on the day.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Model Child?

BD has been reading "No David", a book about a child, David, who gets into all sorts of trouble. It was writen by David who recalls his mother's constant harping..."No David". Despite similar appearences, we are pleased to report that BD's behavior is less challenging than David's.

No Juice Here

While former Diamond Back professoinal Jason Grimsley has been slapped with a meaningless 50 Game suspension for using human growth hormones and Amphetamines, Belly Bean from the Mankato M&Ms remains calm, unconcerned and completely oblivious to performance enhancing drugs.

According to her agent, "She's juicin' alright. I beleive it was orange juice this morning, or was that cranberry juice? Anyway, it's too early to tell if her suplimental intake has enhanced her play."

Critics and fans are watching anxiously to see if Belly Bean will be swinging for the fences before the season is out.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Sluggo: On breathing

"Les Poseur", Sluggo continues his training efforts for his first marathon. Still conviced he can haul his lumbersome physique 26.2 miles in a (near) three hour timeframe, Sluggo has begun training in earnest for a yet-to-be-named Fall race.

His workouts seem to vary between exhausing "power" walks and the occassional jog with weekly distance maybe covering 10 miles. His monsterous ego has all but blacked-out any doubt of his athletic prowess, and he continues to crow about his three hour goal with more confidence and bravado than could be mustered in a meeting between Barry Bonds, Bret Farve, Charles Barkley AND Mohamad Ali.

In fact, workouts are going so pleasingly well that Slulggo has begun to vocally impart advise (in today's cubed work environment, a person can't avoid overhearing such broadcasts and pontifications unless of course one is deaf or lives in another county). His recent training tip harkens back to breathing techniques he once learned in Junior High. We've learned that these same techniques have now been resurrected to fully develop his training form and experience.

So... all together now... Breath in (haaaaaaaaaaaa).... breath out (wheeeeeeeeeeeeew)... See that's not so bad, is it? Sluggo may be onto something. Let's try that again except this time with "feeling"... breath in.... breath out..... very good!! Now we simply need to remember to breath when we run, and hope (in our case) that the oxygen actually reaches our brains.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Buy Me Some Peanuts

"Tinker to Evers to Chance" was once the mantra of a great 6-4-3 double play team for the Brookyn Dodgers (I believe). Regretfully, when watching the Twins play at the Metrodom all we could come up with was Putrid, Rancid and Fetted. It was not pretty. With nothing better to do, Crazy Pete posed for a few snap shots with The Peanut. This was the most sane shot that came out. And if you didn't see the paper... Twinkies lost 7-9 to Baltamore despite a comback rally that was punctuated by a dramatic Grand Slam home run shot over the center field tarp (I'd call it a wall, but I'd only be kidding myself).

Friday, June 09, 2006

Last of the Pre-teen B-Days

Funny you mention belly laugh
by Crazy Pete, Team F*U*N Poet Lariat

Ellie rhymes with belly,
And yours shakes like jelly,
When you let out a year-older laugh.

That doesn't mean you're funny,
Cuz your nose is quite runny,
And you snort like a long-necked giraffe.

See, it's really quite simple,
Like your big yellow pimple,
To be popped by your Mom and her staff.

Today's your big day,
And your birthday suit's on display,
So get some clothes, kid, and cover your lower half.

Best in Show!

This from our far-flung correspondent on assignment at Melrose Meadows:

Recently Melrose Meadows had a "dog show" and Cathie talked me into taking Mindy. Needless to say, I did so with great trepidation. As usual, her performance was equal to one by Gertrude Lawrence.

She greeted all the infirmed with gentleness, all men with licks and lots of love, Cathie - who she hadn't seen in a year with screams of joy. Kevin, who came with his dog, she ignored until he gave Juno's leash to Cathie and picked her up.

We won two of the events - one against two huge sheep dogs (that one who is the oldest participant in the show - dog + owner's age) enough said about that. The second one was who could get their dog to bark on command. They didn't say what the command had to be, I bent over and said "is John coming" the result being the loudest bark in the bunch and we won a green ribbon.

I was so proud of her - she greeted all the other dogs as a lady, she sat and stayed when I told her to and she obeyed me - I still can't believe it. I guess I'll keep her.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Self -Douse

no! No! NO!! Let ME do it! (sigh) And so it goes.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Pre-Teenaged Mayhem!

On Friday we had a total of 11 screaming 12 and 13 year-olds over to jointly celebrate Ellie's and Ciera's birthdays respectively. (Ellie: top row, third from the left)

Activities included an action packed relay as Emily demonstrates below. And an Egg toss that got way out of hand according to this innocent bi-stander.

The highlight of the evening may have been the impromptu water fight that broke out between two parties. Two doors down 20 unsuspecting boys were celebrating the 10th birthdays of neighbor twins. The gals sauntered over singing a sexy rendition of "Happy Birthday" and when they were feet from the crowd of confused young men (conveniently clad in swim trunks), the girls unleashed an enviable firestorm of water balloons.

Of course an act of such aggression did not go unpunished. The boys retaliated with an all-out counter attack. Screams, shreaks and water everywhere was the resulting chaos. Fun was had by one and all.

The evening ended with a tasty helping of smores and a few unexplained tearfully dramatic moments. Lord give me patience for that which I will NEVER (nor want to EVER) understand... the fragile emotions of teenaged girls. YIKES! Last time I checked, they were ALL still on speaking terms as if nothing happened at all. I just don't get it. Quite frankly, I don't think they get it either. Oh well, all's well that ends well I guess.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Recent Trip to Colorado

Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.
Colorado Springs, CO

Looking westward just after a passing storm.