Thursday, August 30, 2012

Classic card of the week

Mike Alonso, 1991 Katmandu

Here is a card of Mike Alonso playing a bongo drum. Mike Alonso is a member of Katmandu, which is a band. Was a band. Whatever. The point is, that might be the greatest chest hair that begins randomly midway down the torso that I have seen. In fact I'm not really sure if it's delayed chest hair or high-rising pubic hair, although I do hope it's the former, because I've been staring at if for 15 minutes, and I'd feel weird if I spent all that time staring at another man's pubic hair who is playing bongos. Regardless, one more button undone and we're officially in the forest.

So the front of the card is pretty self-explanatory ... Mike Alonso playing a bongo drum ... Katmandu. But there is even more information on the back of this card. Let us go there.



SPECIALTY: DRUMS

I am going to assume, now that I know that drums are his specialty, that Mike Alonso also plays drums that require sticks.

PROFILE: DRUMMER MIKE ALONSO, ESTABLISHED HIMSELF AS ONE OF THE MOST AGGRESSIVE YOUNG DRUMMERS AROUND DURING THE MID-80S

Again, aggression would seem somewhat limited on bongos, so I think we're talking drum sets and stuff here. Still, I feel like most drummers are pretty aggressive, so being able to establish yourself as one of THE most aggressive drummers out there is quite a feat. I imagine Mike Alonso hit those drums pretty dang hard with his sticks and/or hands. Probably sweat a whole lot, too. This of course raises the relevant question, "Who are some of the most aggressive drummers around TODAY?" I feel like we could talk about that for hours on end, but please leave your answer in the comments. I would say Ringo Starr or my friend Jason Silvero of the Hollyhocks (PLUG), who are the only two drummers I know by name. Also, who are the most passive drummers out there today? Probably whoever plays the drums for Bon Iver. Nevertheless a great question to ask next time you're out at the bar.

HE GOT HIS BIG BREAK WHEN HE DISCOVERED DAVE KING AND MANDY MEYER OF KATMANDU AND ASKED TO JOIN THEIR FLEDGLING OUTFIT.

Hey, your band kind of sucks. Can I join?

There is not a lot of information on Katmandu -- Google was like, "Do you mean Kathmandu?" and I was like, "No, moron! The obscure 80s rock band!" -- but luckily I found the site called Sleaze Roxx. Bail me out, Sleaze Roxx:

Katmandu was a short lived, low impact super group who's one and only album was ridiculed for sounding too much like Great White, failing to establish its own identity.

Maybe we are using the term super group a bit liberally here. Or possibly Alonso -- formerly of The Meanies, who I think I've heard of -- jumping on board took them from fledgling to super group overnight. King was from Fastway, which I've never heard of (although he currently heads Flogging Molly); Meyer from Krokus, Cobra, and Asia, one of which I've heard of; and Caine Carruthers from The Untouchables, which is a movie I saw. Not exactly Velvet Revolver. However, in Katmandu's defense, I was pretty much only listening to Babyface and Father MC at the time, so I was pretty unaware of what was happening among bands that sounded like Great White, or who Great White was.

Anyway, bongos!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Labor Day weekend becomes ultimate fantasy

This weekend is Labor Day weekend, which means several important things. For starters, only two months left of summer! Or three months, depending on whether or not the scorpion sees its shadow. Also, we should take time over the weekend to give thanks for the labor unions and a political appeasement process that feared another Pullman Strike for making this extra day off possible. (If that sounded smart, please be aware that I just, like two seconds ago, looked up “Labor Day” on Wikipedia. And I am a history major.) More importantly, of course, Labor Day marks the beginning of football season.

Football season creates an interesting dynamic in our household. To be more specific, my wife greatly dislikes football. And that’s real football I’m referring to, so you can imagine how she feels about my love for fake football.

The Saturday of Labor Day weekend is, you see, the occasion of my annual fantasy football draft. This was a much easier thing to partake in when we lived back east and didn’t have a child, and I could actually attend the draft in person while my wife was free to do as she pleased. Now I must participate in the draft via a four-hour long video conference that is smack dab in the middle of what could potentially be, were it not for the draft, a fun-filled family outing. Instead I fumble through pages of research while my daughter, who thinks every video chat features her grandparents, tries to understand why the group of men sitting in silence while drinking beer and sharing a six-foot long sub are not paying attention to her. Then she will press buttons on the computer and disconnect the feed. Then I will reconnect the feed and continue waiting for my cousin Mark to pick a third wide receiver. It is awesome!

This weekend, however, we actually are embarking on a family get-together with friends we haven’t seen in many years who are traveling to see us. You can imagine how excited my wife is that I will be interrupting this family time so I can spend four hours drafting a fake football team. Nevertheless, I think everyone will be excited to witness my draft choices. Will I take Kevin Kolb or John Skelton? Just kidding, I am going to take a real quarterback.

The most important thing about the fantasy draft is that is it’s the lead-in to the actual season, which means my wife’s discontent moves from “draft” to “football Sundays.” Like the draft, football Sundays were much easier to swallow when they involved going to my in-law’s, where she could do whatever while I watched football with my brothers-in-law. Now that we have our own family in Arizona, football Sundays mostly involve statements like, “Do these games ever end?” and “How are you drinking a beer at 10 in the morning?” and “What’s the matter?” (Note: What’s the matter is that my fantasy team is doing terrible.)

All that gloriousness that I just described begins this weekend. It should be mentioned that Labor Day weekend also marks the end of my fantasy baseball regular season, so you can imagine how much I have at stake here. I do fear that one year my wife may go on a strike of her own, at which point I will be forced to make concessions. Like I might have to convince everyone to kick Mark out of the league, because he takes way too long.

Note: This column appears in the 8/30 issue of The Glendale Star and the 8/31 issue of the Peoria Times.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Spam email of the week

RE:hey there

One of my absolute favorite spam email ploys is the "Re:," as if I had sent previous correspondence to "hotmail_92a69537fb6f718a@live.com; on behalf of; victorontop@yahoo.co.uk" about "hey there." Let's see how he responded to my original email that I never sent. (Note: I am no longer protecting the identity of the spambots.)

hun be healthy be happy be successful this is how

I am "hun," I guess, also known as "Hon," which is short for honey, which is an appropriate way to refer to someone over email whom you have never met or talked to before or anything. Also, this must be my lucky day because I was just sitting here and all of a sudden I got this email that contains the secret to health, happiness, and success! The secret to all those things is a website! Although, it should be noted that my happiness as it relates to this specific email would involve, simply, a comma.

http://t.co/0y8UALBl

As much as I want to be healthy, happy, and successful, I did not click on that link lest it reveal a webpage of an evil kitten with red eyes and then our server crashes. Still, there is more to this email, so possibly we will be clued in to the secrets of the universe, thus bypassing God.

I finally restored that firebird that's been sitting on cinder blocks for months when i first saw this i couldnt believe what i was seeing

What the crap does that even mean? The secret to health, happiness, and success is a restored Firebird sitting on cinder blocks? If that is true, I was so far off in my quest for happiness it's not even funny. (I was looking for rainbows and gold.) Is the website a link to a Firebird? You couldn't believe what you were seeing? I want click on it so bad right now! This junk email has succeeded in its mission! Don't click it, don't click it ... argh!

...

I clicked it. It's a link to a "CNBC" "article" about how a Phoenix mom earns $7,219 per month part-time. Guys, that is amazing! I have quit my job. Also, the article includes the cure to every disease, I am assuming ... haven't read all of it yet, was busy quitting my job to earn tons of money "using the Internet." I am so happy right now. Nothing on there about a Firebird, but I imagine what hotmail_92a69537fb6f718a@live.com; on behalf of; victorontop@yahoo.co.uk was trying to say was that he/she/it has so much time on his/her/its hands from working only part-time using the Internet, that he/she/it now has ample time to the restore a Firebird and put it on cinder blocks. So for everyone who clicked on that link, enjoy your happiness, health, success, and newfound freedom to restore your vehicle of choice! Please send me a picture of your vehicle on cinder blocks so I can express my disbelief.

I trust this entire thing has been well worth everyone's time.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Lions, homework, and rockets, oh my

As our daughter gets older—she turned 3 last week—things are becoming more advanced at daycare. For example, I am no longer supposed to call it daycare, but “school,” since she is technically in the preschool program. She has a homework folder now, so things just got real. Last week after I picked her up and drove away, I realized I forgot to take her homework folder, so I had to turn around, get her out of the car in the 110-degree heat, and go back in and get it, at which point I left my only pair of sunglasses there. When I got home I had to call daycare school, which is always weird for me since I feel the need to describe myself as so-and-so’s “daddy” instead of just using my legal name. Hi, this is daddy. I left my sunglasses there by mistake, can you find them please? They thought they found them but wanted to confirm the brand with me, but I never knew what brand they were so I responded, “I don’t know. They are brown.” If I am any indication, they probably think our daughter is going to be a genius.

A homework folder is not the only folder our daughter has at school. She also has a daily folder with a paper outlining what they did that day, what they ate for lunch, how many minutes she didn’t nap, and any future events to be aware of. On the bottom it may say, “Don’t forget—Friday is crazy hat day!” I always forget. My wife drops her off on Fridays, so I usually get a text while I’m at work that reads, “Why didn’t you tell me it was crazy hat day? So embarrassing, ugh!” Last month I managed to remember at the last possible second that it was silly sock day, and our daughter received a medal of participation. It was her first. She has been there three years.

Also contained in that folder are any projects she completed that day. Obviously, they are the cutest things ever and I love looking at them and imagining her sitting there and working on it … for 12 seconds before she becomes distracted and the teacher finishes it out of frustration. But let me just say, there are a lot of projects. A lot.

I try to take as many as I can to work. As I write this I’m sitting next to a purple butterfly, a turtle on a doily, a small paper plate that is a lion’s face with noodles, a turkey (?), and a few other things which are unidentifiable but that have eyes. I love them; they get me through the day.

But again, there are a lot of them. We cannot keep up, and she’s not even in real school yet. They are also getting more complicated and awkward. Last week she made a cylindrical rocket ship with construction paper dangling from the end, and while I was carrying it to the car I was firmly told not to “smush it.” By the time we got home, she had forgotten all about it.

I’m not sure of the protocol here, but we’ve settled on slyly disposing of some of them—after the required three days of course; we’re not monsters—while also featuring some of the more manageable ones on a board we set up in the kitchen. Also on that board are reminders for me, like “Get her homework,” and “Leave your sunglasses in the car.” I guess you could say it is a board that represents current and future genius.

Note: This column appears in the 8/23 issue of The Glendale Star and the 8/24 issue of the Peoria Times.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Classic card of the week



 Rick Hunolt, 1991 ROCKCARDS

Before we begin, I must acknowledge So, Do You Like ... Stuff? blog No. 1 friend and partaker, Bill, for passing along this gem (and many others, coming soon). This was sent along with the message, "I have no idea where I got these," which, yeah, sure, Bill. Rick Hunolt cards don't just magically appear -- this isn't some fantasy world we're living in. It's okay this card was stashed in a fireproof box in a location known only to you, and that you wore latex gloves while scanning it. Nobody here is judging.

So there's not much to say here except EVERYTHING. Pretty sure that extremely big wristband is a cut-up tube sock. That is also the smallest tattoo I think I've ever seen. I mean, Rick Hunolt -- you're a heavy metal guitarist. If you're going to get a tattoo, get a tattoo. Of course, all of this is forgiven thanks to the denim vest with no undershirt and the creepy, crazed look of intrigue. What's that, Rick Hunolt? Would I like to join you on the tour bus? Sure, what's the worst that could happen .. Also, little known fact: Rick Hunolt had the most hair of anyone who was completely bald in history.

If you can even believe the front of this card is something that exists, there is also a back.


SPECIALTY: GUITAR

The very sharp guitar Rick is holding on the front of the card kind of gave that away, but thanks. Something tells me -- I think it's the look in his eyes -- that Rick's specialty isn't ONLY guitar. His looks says, "I have another specialty ... in my pants." Those pants, by the way, are totally Zubaz. He's wearing a turtleneck with Zubaz. And the ROCKCARDS seal of authenticity seems to be covering his package. My world is collapsing onto itself and I am trapped in the rubble of awesomeness.

BIRTHDAY: JULY 1

No year necessary. Rock stars are immortal.

NICKNAME: SICK RICK

That's kind of cool, actually. Was the name Slick Rick a nod to Rick Hunbolt or vice versa? Or were those nicknames somehow mutually exclusive?

PROFILE: RICK HUNOLT FORMS ONE OF METAL'S MOST LETHAL GUITAR DUOS ALONG WITH EXODUS SIX-STRING PARTNER GARY HOLT.

It's difficult for me to declare just ONE metal guitar duo the most lethal, but if I absolutely had to, gun to my head, I would probably agree with that sentiment. Wikipedia adds,

{Hunbolt} subsequently performed on all their albums in the 1980s and 1990s, sharing leads with original member Gary Holt (together known as the "H-team")

The term "H-team," for me at least, takes away a little of the lethalness. That sounds like a nickname two third-grade boys with similar last names decided to call themselves on the playground.

THIS BERKELEY-BORN THRASH MASTER

Almost positive that is the first and only time that phrase has ever been used in the history of the English language.

LISTS MICHAEL SCHENKER, PRINCE AND AL DIMEOLA AMONG HIS MAIN INSPIRATIONS.

Secondary inspirations include Ghandi, the guy who painted Mona Lisa, and Peabo Bryson.

So anyway, this card is funny to me because I know nothing about Rick Hunolt or Exodus -- except for the album Shovel Headed Kill Machine, obvs -- or heavy metal in general, and also because LOOK AT THIS CARD. I hope you have enjoyed today's installment because ROCKCARDS by BROCKUM produced other cards besides Rick Hunolt, and one of them features a guy playing the bongos.

TEASER.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Going green with the help of that big yellow thing

I admit that I have no idea how solar energy works. Granted, I have no idea how regular energy works either, but living with it for this long has at least made me feel like an expert. One day I will explain to my daughter, “In my day, you’d plug a lamp into the socket and it would turn on because of the electrical currents and wires that somebody else installed. It was a lot of work. You kids have it so easy today, with the sun.”

It’s difficult for me to grasp green energy in general. We recently made a trip to the west coast, and along the I-10 are miles of wind turbines, surely the brainchild of some California hippie vegetarian tree-hugger. Every time we pass those things I marvel at the fact that wind can produce energy by making things spin around. “How does that work again?” I will ask my wife. And she will start talking about how the wind produces energy and then it’s stored in the turbine or something, but I stopped listening a while ago. She doesn’t understand either.

But like me, she knows it works. Which is why a few weeks ago she arrived home informing me that we should think about solar panels for our house. And by “think about” she meant that she had already scheduled a solar panel meeting, so I should start thinking fast.

By no means am I opposed to green living—I prefer it, in fact, as I am a hippie vegetarian tree-hugger—but I was skeptical for financial reasons. I have seen many homes with solar panels here in the West Valley, and they just look so expensive. “Pfft. I bet one of those panels costs a million dollars. GO BACK TO SCOTTSDALE.”

So I was prepared to meet this solar panel man, shake his hand, listen to his spiel, and wish him well in his future life of us not having solar panels. But the more he talked, and the more my wife listened, it became clearer and clearer—we are getting solar panels.

While the panels are expensive (although not quite a million per), they are leased and not owned (although owning is an option). Our lease payment will replace our energy payment … and will be cheaper. Cheaper is better, according to math.

I had originally assumed a company like APS would be at odds with a solar company, but they actually work together. Homeowners are encouraged to go solar because it adds to the pool of energy. Also, because our house faces directly east and west, we’ll be getting maximum efficiency from our panels. If nothing else, solar panels will serve as our touché to the sun, which has been trying to kill us for five years.

Most important of all, those blazing hot summer days will serve a purpose other than making me miserable. We’ll be doing our part for Earth because we took the initiative to have someone else install panels on our roof.

It’s amazing how far we’ve come as an energy-inventing society, thanks to people like Thomas Edison, Benjamin Franklin’s kite, California hippies, and the solar guy we talked to, who was probably just a sales guy and didn’t exactly invent solar energy. I don’t know how any of this stuff works, but I’m happy to do my part by using it. Mostly to charge my computer so I can do my fantasy football draft.




NOW I get it! The sun wears sunglasses!

Note: This column appears in the 8/16 issue of The Glendale Star and the 8/17 issue of the Peoria Times.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Things Method Man tells his significant other in the 1995 smash romantic hit, 'You're All I Need'

Note: This remake differs only slightly from the Marvin Gaye/Tammi Terrell original.

I will always be there for you.

Nothing makes a man feel better than a woman. (Note: Method Man is a man.)

There are two options in life: make war or make babies. I suggest we do the latter. (Interpretation: Then we can start a war because we will have an army of babies.)

Before I was Method Man, you were good to me. Now that I AM Method Man, I will repay that loyalty by not frontin'.

Even when it looked like it would rain outside, you were like, "Don't worry; it's just rain." (Rain is a metaphor for a thunderstorm of misfortune caused by unforeseen circumstances and not Method Man's own poor decision-making, i.e., anything suggested in other Wu Tang jingles.)

Never give my (your) vagina away. And keep grooming it and stuff.

I am going to walk the dogs.

Let's live in a big house with thousands of kids. This may run contrary to my earlier wishes that your vagina remain "tight," but ... we'll iron out the details later.

I am not getting you a ring, btw.

I realize now that you could have chosen any one of the millions of Wu Tang Clan members out there, but you chose me. I appreciate that. Allow me then to endearingly refer to you as I would one of my male friends.

Woman (Mary J. Blige): That is awesome. Feeling is mutual. You know how when you wake up and look at the dew on the morning grass and realize that dew on the morning grass is your destiny or whatever? That is how I feel about you. I don't want to get all dramatic, but I would die for you.

I love you so much that after five minutes with you we are having sex.

I love how you have a mind of your own that tells you to never cheat on me.

I like how you don't dress slutty when I am in jail.

I am like Noah and you are like "Wiz" from ... the Bible? The Wizard of Oz? Doesn't matter.

Don't expect anything on Valentine's Day or your birthday. We're on another level. The level of me not getting you stuff.

Man, my eyes look cool in this video.


Thursday, August 09, 2012

Spam email of the week

After soliciting to see other people's junk, fellow blogger Chunter showed me his. And let me just say ... it's not real, and it's fantastic.

Subject: Khadija Mohamed-Sent you an auction item from LiveAuctioneers.com

Before you get all excited about Khadija Mohamed sending you an auction item from LiveAuctioneers.com, I just want to say--that is not at all what happened, whatsoever. There is nary a mention of an auction item in this entire email. I don't know what the motivation was behind that subject header, because what Khadijia Mohamed is really offering is much, much better.

Good day my Dear I am sorry to disturb you with this message pls bear with me, i decided to let you know base on what am going through.

I will bear with you, Khadija, rest easy. Please, continue to let me know base on what you are going through, which is a thing that totally makes sense.

My name is Khadija Mohamed, A final year student in University of Cocody Abidjan Code D'Ivoire.

The University of Cocody Abidjan Code D'Ivoire is an elite university on the Ivory Coast. According to its mission statement, its students are renown for sending bizarre emails to strangers and for their terrible grammar.

My father was one of the ministers during Laurent Gbagbo regime. My father was murdered along with my mother by the Alassane-Ouattara rebels when they were moving from the capital city to the village where they relocated during Cote D'ivoire political crises.

So this got real personal, real fast, considering I do not know Khadija Mohamed and had earlier assumed I was about to place a bid at auction. Even though I am history major, I know nothing about the Alassane-Ouattara rebels, but I Googled them and dudes are mad cray. Anyways, I am sorry your parents were murdered, but I am comforted knowing that you are not a real person and this entire thing is a scam.

It was only me left and i move to my uncle during political crises. The funeral of my parent was hold and my uncle requested that i should give him some of my fathers documents. I refused and he collaborated with his wife and turn against me.

I'm sorry, I don't want to seem insensitive, but why are you telling me this? This is a lot to take in for a person who is at his desk eating a muffin. Anyway, it seems like your uncle is a dick, IMO.

My father has a lot of properties in Cote D'ivoire which some of them were seized by the current president. In course of searching for my father's properties, my uncle's wife served me a poison meal.

Been there, my brother. My own father has a lot of property (1) in central New Jersey, and one time my uncle's wife, who I call my "aunt," made a cheesecake that wasn't so good.

But as God may have it, i was weak that day and have some symptom of malaria and lost of appetite, i had no appetite to eat the food, i waited and take the food to dog.

Have you considered making a movie about your life? You could call it, "Saved By Malaria," and feature it at Sundance.

Surprising, the following morning the dog died

That is not surprising.

Everybody were asking what happen, after an hour my uncle's wife came to me and asked me if i eat the food last night and i responded yes of course. From that moment i discovered that i was not safe there and i have no option than to make a move to save my life.

"Hey, Khadija, did you eat dinner last night? I'm just asking because it's weird that you're alive right now. Also, why is there a dead dog on the floor?" -- Khadija Mohamed uncle's wife

I run out from the house and move to my course mate family house where she leaves with her parent in other to save me life.

That sentence belongs in the Museum of Nonsense. Also, are you a pirate?

Before the dealth of my father, he distinguished and deposited the sum of $4.5M Dollars with a security company which he kept for the importation of industrial machine .

Your dad was like, "Here's a distinguished sum of $4.5 mil. Call me when they're ready to import the industrial machine." Then he died. Typical. Have you talked to Jack Bauer about all this? I feel like maybe he could help.

he kept the money in a sealed box and deposited it with a security company, I crave your indulgence as I contact you in such a surprising manner.

Granted, I WAS surprised to receive this, but someone like you--a person who I don't know at all and who is weird and who writes with the ebb and flow of a demented child--craving my indulgence is why I got into email in the first place.

I want the security company to move or ship the sealed box out of this country to your country to be legally claimed by you.

Oh, that's all? Pfft. Just give me the number! I'll call them up and be like, "Yo, security company? This is Mike. No, Mike Kenny, duh. Yeah. So I got an email from a dude named Khadija Mohamed about transferring $4.5 mil in a sealed box from him to me. No biggie. So, do you like, need me to fax over my signature or whatever?" I don't foresee this being a problem.

I guarantee you that this venture is risk free

No worries. Consider this a virtual handshake. Besides, I'm sure this email with you guaranteeing the risk-free nature of this venture will hold up in court.

i want you to help me invest this money in any lucrative business over there in your country.

No probs, Khadija. And how did you know about my expertise in investing? Was it because you found my blog where I mostly make fun of my old sports cards? Anyway, yeah, we'll invest in like, Twitter, or Arby's, or really any company here in America, where things are financially awesome right now.

As for me i want to come over to your country immediately i confirm from you that you have recieved the box and continue my education.

That is pretty much the best plan I have ever heard of.
Step 1: Get to America. (Easy, breezy ... as long as you avoid Arizona.)
Step 2: Confirm I have the sealed box that contains $4.5 million. (I will.)
Step 3: Enroll at an online college or whatever.

Please if you are willing to assist me,indicate your interest in replying soonest. This is my reason for writing you. Thanks and best regards, Khadija Mohamed.

I just met you ... and this crazy ... but I'll pick up your sealed box ... call me maybe.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Simple purchase leads to wife’s frustration, proposed boycott

This past weekend I was tasked with the simple assignment of walking into Safeway and purchasing a gift card for our friend’s birthday. It did not go smoothly.

We were on the way to the party, so my wife and daughter waited in the car while I ran inside. My wife’s instructions were, “Get a $25 Visa gift card.” I was like, “Okay.” There was good communication there, in the beginning.

There are approximately 14 different gift card mall stations in Safeway, so I was already wondering to myself how long it would take me to find the Visa cards. I am positive my wife was concerned I’d be wooed by another station, and come back with a Cheesecake Factory card instead, thinking that was better. One of the stations is right when you walk in the store, and almost immediately after the double doors closed behind me, there they were—Visa gift cards. It was like heaven was shining a light down on them, making my life easier. I saw one that read “$25,” grabbed it and proceeded onward.

I purchased a few other things before I made it to the register, and somehow ended up spending $80. I got back to the car and handed the gift card to my wife so she could insert it into the birthday card, thus successfully completing my mission. I barely had the car in drive when she said, “Wait, what is this—‘purchase fee?’”

I didn’t know what she was talking about, but for reference she was holding the card in the air and pointing to the big words that read, “$3.95 PURCHASE FEE” with a look on her face that can only be described as annoyed disgust (a look I am very familiar with, by the way). I was like, “What?”

“Did you just pay an extra four dollars on a $25 gift card for no apparent reason?”

I was like, “What?”

First of all, I have never even heard of a purchase fee. What is a purchase fee? That makes absolutely no sense. A fee for buying something is not a thing I ever knew existed. My wife was incredulous I did not see the words “$3.95 purchase fee” right below the “$25.” I tried to explain to her that I saw the “$25” and didn’t feel the need to read any more considering I didn’t know a purchase fee was a thing that could even happen. I asked rhetorically, “Who pays a purchase fee?” to which she replied, “People like you, apparently.”

My daughter interrupted our discussion to ask, “Can I have my milk, please?” My wife turned to me and asked me where I put the milk. I was like, “What?” I had forgotten to bring her milk from home.

The next five minutes or so proceeded with no one speaking to me. I attempted to offset the tension by saying, “Well, at least I saved us a little money on milk today.” No one was amused.

When we arrived at the party, I checked my receipt, and while, yes, there was indeed a $3.95 purchase fee charged, my Safeway Club Card earned me $1.95 off, so I only wasted two dollars. Turns out I’m smart and attentive after all.

I am also boycotting Visa gift cards until Visa agrees to offset this ridiculousness by paying my just-now-imposed $3.95 “spending fee” on all personal transactions. I suggest you all do the same, or, better yet -- just get the Cheesecake Factory card.


Hope you like wasting money, John Smith.

Note: This column appears in the 8/9 issue of The Glendale Star and the 8/10 issue of the Peoria Times.

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Classic card of the week


Rex Hudler, 1991 Score

Guys, I think we may have found someone who out-Ecksteined David Eckstein. I’m just kidding—that’s impossible. Still though!

Rex was just the shot in the arm the Cardinals needed in ’90.

If you replace Rex with “Eck” and ’90 with “’06” … I mean ... I am totally freaking out right now.

Versatile and aggressive

Many baseball players at the time were stationary and indifferent, so this is important to note.

he filled in at all four infield positions and the outfield

It could be argued that Rex Hudler > David Eckstien by means of versatility. Eckstein could only play shortstop, which he couldn't really play, and second base, which ditto, on account of having to throw the ball.

"He's scrappy," said Cardinal manager Joe Torre.

We've made so much fun of scrappy over the years that to hear used in a serious context is quite delightful and a reminder of why we got into this business in the first place.

"He's the type of player you'd like to have next to you in the foxhole.

Joe Torre: The Germans are advancing, and their artillery is overpowering! I'm gonna need ya' here, Rex!

Rex Hudler: Sure thing, sarge! What do you want me to do ... move a runner over with a bunt?

Torre: What the %^$% are you talking about? I need you to pull this pin, toss this thing, and kill all those guys over there without blowing us up first!

Hudler: Wait, I thought this was a metaphor?

He plays every inning like it's the last one in the world."

Above the fireplace in the Hudler home rests a framed quilt with a flowery border that reads:

Love like you've never been hurt
Dance like nobody's watching
Play every inning like it's the last one in the world. 

For the record, my idea of playing an inning like it's the last one in the world is to make a whole bunch of errors so the inning doesn't end and I don't die.

"His intensity and enthusiasm have rubbed off on a lot of people," added teammate Joe Magrane.
Emotional and extremely fast


A quick recap of admirable Rex Hudler attributes:

-name is Rex
-shot in the arm
-versatile
-aggressive
-scrappy
-war veteran, Purple Heart (prolly)
-apocalyptic inning player
-contagious intensity
-contagious enthusiasm
-emotional
-extremely fast

So that is all amazing. But consider this, according to Wikipedia:

Prior to signing with the Yankees, Hudler was visited by Notre Dame, who hoped that he would suit up for their football team.

Hudler was, according to this card, 6'2"/180 lbs, which is bigger than Rudy, who was smaller than a horse jockey. But all things considered, the movie "Rex" would have been ever better than "Rudy," because of, again, the versatility.

Rex: Let me play defense too, coach, I know I can do it!
Coach: Okay, fine, ya' got yer' wish! Now don't get hurt out there!
Game happens ...
Coach: Interception ... touchdown! That kid's got the heart of a lion, I'll tell 'ya.
Black janitor: Damn straight.
Rex: Postgame interview. My grandmother, who died before, always used to say, "Play every down like it's the last one in the world!"
Credits

Truth be told, had Rex Hudler actually played at Notre Dame, and played anything but punter, and then went on to become a scrappy major leaguer, the world may have collapsed unto itself. So that was a close one.