Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Best of 2008

In 2008, we elected a president. Third time’s a charm for me. Even though technically Missouri didn't count my vote because the state failed to vote for the winner for only the second time in 100 years, it still felt good to have done my part for change.

Not surprisingly in such a pivotal year, vitriol spewed forth like never before throughout 2008. Fortunately, such immature bile ended permanently the moment Barack Obama became President-elect of the United States, never to be seen or heard from again. America grew up, realized that the time for misinformation was over and the populace as a whole vowed never again to let prejudice and lies steer the national debate.

Here's to at least four easier years ahead! But first...

One long, last year of this

The Bush administration and its minions on the religio-neocon right save something for the third act. Lame stuff, yes, but something.

1/28: Celebrating celebrities who chose to be alive...or something
What does it mean to be "pro-life," anyway? Just ask the guy with the nail in his head from "Happy Gilmore"!

1/29: The lame duck quacks
Bush's final State of the Union address gets the respect it deserves.

6/25: Oh, those Republicans! Always looking ahead
Now available: Reagan/Bush '84 T-shirts!

11/19: God + guns = somebody's guts
Guns in parks? Or are you just happy to see me?

Election 2008

1/18: We have nothing to fear but fear-mongering candidates
Romney vs. Huckabee, as if that was relevant.

2/5: Hail primary, full of race...
Thoughts during my first Super Tuesday as a primary voter in a bellwether state.

2/25: Unsound bite
Hillary wasn't selling. Maybe if her campaign seemed less like a sales pitch...

2/26: Cheap snapshot
Barack Obama's wearing Kenyan garb! OMG!!!!

3/3: Blessed Handsome has his haters
Barack Obama's middle name is HUSSEIN!! That's a big deal! The fact that his name means "Blessed Handsome?" Not so much.

3/4: It’s partisan time!

3/25: There's something not Wright about Obama

4/23: Dear Hillary...
6/5: Get on with it!

4/25: Ladies and gentlemen, the John McCain platform

5/6: Irritating things
Things that were irritating me on May 6, 2008.

5/23: Short Fuse has his Short List for VP
We had no idea...

6/9: It’s the right thing to do

6/10: Their company car's license plate reads, "DESPER8"
Meet Barack Obama! Or, at least, the Republican Party's official caricature of the future president.

7/10: Jesse Jackson: "I want to cut his nuts off"

(My dad made this)

That terroriffic New Yorker cover that shouldn't have existed because people are idiots or something.

7/28: Here's something that could use some change
I made a lot of sacrifices to attend a Barack Obama appearance in Springfield. In doing so, I gave up seeing him as well.

8/23: Obama-Biden!
8/29: McCain-Palin - The Dead Parrot ticket
First thoughts on...well, you know.

9/2: Sarah Palin tries to seduce me...

9/3: Stuff I noticed about the RNC tonight
9/4: Empathy for the unsympathetic
Notes about the GOP convention. Two posts that can be distilled into one word: mean.

9/25: Burning questions (and other thoughts)
John McCain threatened to bail on the presidential debate. Obama says "uh" a lot. Things like that.

10/1: A pereleel to Seereh Peelin's deep deeposity
My take on the infamous Katie Couric video.

10/7: Liberals DO have backbones!
Even my X-rays are political.

10/8: What happens when you merge a revved-up mind with back pills
This pissed off some people.

10/21: I never want to feel this horrible again
On the eve of the election, I had a dream that I forgot to vote and Obama lost badly. Fortunately, dreams don't always come true.

10/23: Template conservative blog post
Saw this a lot on Facebook and MySpace throughout the year.

10/28: What a dumb argument!
We're on the road to socialism! Or rather, roads, because roads are socialist.

11/4: The moment of truth
11/4: Election Day observations
Making history and whatnot.

11/12: Making up for lost blog time
Complete with original Sarah Palin cartoon!

Springfield Ian

1/19: A petition not worth signing
True fact: 90 percent of the time you visit a Springfield library, someone will accost you at the door and ask you to sign a petition to let the people vote on special preferences or something that would astound you if you could ascertain just what the hell they were talking about.

2/13: Now I know how Hillary's campaign feels
A (mostly) apolitical post about the 2008 Springfield ice storm. For some reason, I didn't include the photo of a neighbor's snowman that looked increasingly like the Grim Reaper once it started to melt.

3/21: Warning: This blog contains traces of Peanuts
In which I rediscover the power of Charles Schulz. Also has baby picture of me looking like Charlie Brown.

5/1: Copyright 1987, me
A story of the old woman and her cornbread, and my early success with claw machines that continues to this very day (see below).

5/26: New Indiana Jones - is it worth it?
Maybe not, but I still like it more every time I see it. Not to mention that the Pop Culture Gods finally gave me something new in which to geek out.

6/17: Things I miss #1
An ode to Atari's "Math Gran Prix." If any of you Hollywood filmmakers out there want to option it, I have a hell of an idea for a movie. Or, at the very least, a hilarious joke trailer for YouTube.

7/1: Mission accomplished
I bought one tank of gas in the entire month of June. I rule. Included: hot receipt action.

8/12: Something
I wrote a staff editorial for my newspaper. An interesting experience I (and they) wouldn't mind repeating.

9/30: Entering hostile territory
With shaggy hair, a shirt with a big pot leaf on it (in context), I walk into a Subway where two employees are talking with a military guy about how, duh, they're voting for McCain, obviously. And after one of them mentions how her aunt once tried to run over Bill Clinton, they try to trivialize my experience meeting him. Still, the sandwich was not bad and didn't contain any razors that I could tell.

12/9: Something I “won”
Speaking of claw machines...I won a plush doll of Missouri's only native president, Harry S Truman. In Louisiana. Weird.

12/22: Speaking of oil change...
Posts like this are great because if there's any hole in my car's maintenance record, I can remember not only that I did it this day, but can also evoke fond memories of the bizarre spectacles therein.

12/26: 2008: My year in staying resolute
Looking back on my resolutions for the once-new year. Batted a hair over .500. That's better than Joe DiMaggio.


10/6: Ten years already? (Actually, it's felt like it)
My post on our first-ever game in what would become the Springfield Open Football Association, and how the intense pain I felt after the game reminded me of my 10-year high school reunion, which happened the same weekend.

12/29: Pointing (swollen) fingers

At left, my right finger. At right, my left finger. Such is the treachery of flag football.

1/21: Tom Brady as I like to see him
In a year where the Saints underwhelmed, Tom Brady did so only once - but at just the right time.

9/14: Internal memos
Letting off some steam after the Saints lost to the Redskins. Creatively this time.

7/20: Swimsuit issues

(This picture was not taken in 2008.)

See you next year!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Not exactly pocket science

Yesterday, I bought a new wallet. And nothing else.

The checkout girl bagged it. Bagged it!


Louisiana boy takes football skills out of state, makes good

(No, not Jake Delhomme...I'm not heartless.)

One of the highlights of my week is the flag-football game I play in every Sunday afternoon. We've been doing them for several months now, and in that time I've evolved from a barely mobile has-been with an aggravated back injury to a fully mobile (and thus much-improved) has-been. These days, the only wincing I do is when I accidentally mention these games to my physical therapist (she's quite understanding, in the sense that she hasn't screamed at me to stop immediately). On the field, I play mostly receiver and cornerback, but have also served as quarterback in many an offensive series.

This pass got dropped.

Chris Brewer, my co-worker, fellow blogger and guy I scream at while playing Tecmo Super Bowl, is the one who organizes these games. And by organize, I mean, devised a league name (SOFA), keeps stats, does occasional commentary and sometimes takes photos when sidelined. His weekly analyses are remarkable in their total recall; this week, he has topped himself by writing yesterday's account as a legit (and, dubious quotations aside, mostly true) sports article. Reading this made me feel like I was someone important, even if Chris is a total flag-football geek for writing it (like I can talk).

Now, fans of this blog (fan?) know that I hate to blatantly rip off other writers. So I will excerpt only the best parts, as in those involving me:

Yellow holds off Red in first SOFA Santa Bowl

SPRINGFIELD, Missouri (AP) – Ian McGibboney wanted one shot at redemption for dropping a touchdown pass early in the first half.

He got that, and one better.

McGibboney hauled in two touchdown catches and added five more receptions, and Ryan Cook scored two touchdowns as well to pace Yellow to a 52-40 win over Red in the first-ever Santa Bowl at Kickapoo High School’s practice field.

“I-Mac,” as he is known to his teammates, came on very strong after spraining a finger on an errant throw by Pete Hendricks on a conversion pass early in the second half. After Chris Brewer batted down McGibboney’s pass intended for Cook, he switched out from quarterback to receiver and caught a 35-yard touchdown on a post pattern for a 26-12 lead with 18:12 to play.

The turning point of the game occurred when Red stopped Yellow five yards from the endzone on fourth down with 15:23 to go in the game. Facing a mere 26-18 deficit, Red’s quarterback was sacked in the endzone by Hendricks and on the ensuing Yellow possession, McGibboney caught his second touchdown to put the game nearly out of reach, 34-18. [...]

The win wasn’t entirely easy for Yellow as they faced many challenges from Red, but key stops on defense and timely first downs on offense kept Red on their heels. “Our guys did an excellent job of adapting to the pressure Red gave us today,” Hendricks said from the podium post-game. “Every time Red made a run, we made one of our own. Ian and Ryan had some stellar catches today.” [...]

McGibboney should appear on the injury report this week but should be good to go for Week 13.

Yeah, the injury. I hurt my left index finger really badly on a failed touchdown pass, which hurt like hell for, well, however long it's been between now and when it happened. It's real sexy. Want to look at it?

At left, my right finger. At right, my left finger.

Like Dom DeLuise said in Cannonball Run, "It only hurts when I point."

Friday, December 26, 2008

2008: My year in staying resolute

A look back at my New Year's resolutions for 2008, and how I fared with them:

1) Try out for the New Orleans Saints. They need a few good men in their defensive secondary, and I could fill in at either cornerback or free safety. Yeah, yeah, I know the NFL doesn't have open tryouts. But really, what are they afraid of? That I'll be bad?

The Saints apparently took this warning to heart, as even Jason David has been pulling his weight in the past several games. Ironically enough, with my oodles of physical therapy and weekly football games these past few months, I could almost make this offer for real now. Not quite, though, unless we're talking about the Detroit Lions...

2) Vote for Barack Obama in the Missouri primary and then, eventually, whatever Democrat wins the nomination. Because that's the only way that this country will even begin to start healing itself.

Yeah, that worked out like I'd hoped, even if Missouri picked the loser for only the second time in a century (the last miss being in 1954). Still, my presidential vote in November came as close to almost counting as it ever has, so that's encouraging.

3) Further my progress toward eating more organic and home-cooked food.

I did this literally to the point where I began to crave even the box for Totino's pizza, which I'm sure isn't the goal of eating well. But I've persevered and will continue to do so.

4) Don't go bankrupt...

Not there yet, but even with Vampire Double Cross Insurance I had more than $1,000 worth of out-of-pocket expenses this year. For me, that's 2,000 meals. Or 38 healthy, nutritious meals.

5) Stop shopping at Wal-Mart.

Mission accomplished. And not in the George W. Bush-Iraq War "Mission Accomplished" sense, but in the sense that I actually accomplished the mission. And that there was a clear mission to accomplish.

6) Blog more and more furiously. With an election year coming, that shouldn't be too difficult. Also, I want to make more videos, as soon as I figure out what it is with my camera that adds 45 pounds to my face.

Mission Accomplished, in the George W. Bush sense. This was probably my weakest year ever for blogging, though the same could be said for just about every creative and social goal that I had in 2008. Time for Change.

7) Stop being so hard on myself. Man, am I hard on myself! I could absolve myself of this problem if only I weren't such a FRUSTRATINGLY PERFECTIONIST PIECE OF CRAP!!! YOU SCUM! dROP AND GIVE ME 20! AND 20 MORE FOR THE TYPO IN THAT LAST SENTENCE!! GRARARARARAUGUGUGH!!

I think this actually got worse this year.

8) Lay the groundwork for a future New Year's resolution.

Didn't have time. But each year holds out fresh hope.

9) Turn 28. This one I think I can keep.

And I did. However, my resolve doesn't seem likely to hold up on this one in 2009.

10) Of course, I'd be amiss without mentioning the one thing that everyone can get behind in this tumultuous time: washboard abs. Oh yeah.

If you see them at the right angle, with the light just so (and if I haven't had any water in the last 36 hours), you can see some decent definition. It took me two years last time, so I'm halfway there. Hope! Change! Maybe a tan in a few months! Wheee!

Five and a half out of 10. In the NFC West, I'd have a playoff berth.

Happy rest of holidays!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Speaking of oil change...

On my way to get an oil change today, I pulled up next to a beat-up old pickup truck. Its make was hard to ascertain because its gate, bumpers and brake-light molding (and I think even its mirrors) had long since been removed. Its windows had a folksy opacity, and exterior had apparently been hit too many times with the Bondo stick. Inside, an old-fashioned CB radio setup sat where side-curtain airbags reside in newer, safer cars. All the while, a man of indeterminate age wearing glasses, a bandanna and about two year's growth set the course.

Further setting this truck apart was its bevy of bumper stickers. Among them: "You've been a bad girl. Go to my room!" The famous nude-woman mudflap silhouette. "DON'T LAUGH - Your daughter might be in here!" A rebel flag.

Oh, and Calvin pissing on the name "BUSH."

The dealership was very nice about scooping out my exploded head.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

New Rules

Rule #53: Sole Man
OK, OK, we've discovered George W. Bush has excellent reflexes. Now give it a rest. I understand that in this time of reconciliation we're so desperate to find something redeemable about this man that the fact he has a working brain stem qualifies; but don't get carried away. After all, considering Bush has dodged so many things in his life - Vietnam, the Alabama National Guard, taxes, prison, accountability, karma in general - we should be surprised he isn't limber enough to shift shapes.

Rule #54: KKKs Say the Darnedest Things
Don't name your kids JoyceLynn Aryan Nation Campbell, Honszlynn Hinler Jeannie Campbell and Adolf Hitler Campbell. You might as well name them Beatmeup, Blackssuck and Fuckjews. Those names would at least be more concise on the Alabama driver's licenses they're eventually going to wind up with.

Rule #55: Going Out of Business Section
Newspapers aren't going anywhere. The newspaper business might.

The rest of the rules

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Christmas carol question

In "Santa Claus is Coming to Town," why is crying on par with pouting? Which Sgt. Major Coach Alpha Dad wrote this? Was it Jimmy Dugan of no-crying-in-baseball lore?

You better watch out,
You better not cry.
You'd better not pout,
I'm telling you why.

Kinda sounds like a vindictive girlfriend, doesn't it? Richard Nixon, too. Or perhaps all of those famous family dynasties who went nuts rather than admit they needed professional help like the "weak" people.

Anyway, can't pouting also be a good thing? In the right situation, it could be the prelude to one hell of a present.

I think Calvin of "Calvin and Hobbes" said it best after listening to this carol: "Santa: Kindly old elf, or CIA spook?"

Monday, December 15, 2008

Bah humbug

I just read an e-mail forward that was actually an inspiring, real-life example of generosity. It involved a deserted woman with six kids who struggled to find a job. Even after she found a graveyard-shift job, she paid half her wages to a teenage baby-sitter to sleep on her couch every night, had to air her tires every time she drove and was patching on top of patches on her kids' clothes. Times were tough.

After working a busy Christmas Eve shift (and having mysteriously received new tires earlier), the woman returned to her car to see it full of brand-new presents and necessities. The implication was that her regular diner customers had secretly been attuned to her needs and provided accordingly. The story ends with her drive home, in tears of joy as the sun dawns on the best Christmas ever.

Or, it should have ended there. But instead, it devolves into a missive on THE POWER OF PRAYER. "God still sits on the throne, the devil is a liar," the message continues.

I'm a largely secular person who perhaps dwells on the negative more than he should. But I can't help but roll my eyes at this sentiment. People may find solace in prayer, but the idea that good luck comes because of it smacks of competitiveness - as if those who endure suffering just aren't thumping enough. Well, I'd venture to guess the percentage of people who pray in the world is somewhere in the high nineties, but that doesn't mean anyone's listened to most of them, apparently. So when people credit prayer for their good breaks, they should also realize that other factors are at play, and understand that someone who is worse off may be that way by virtue of something other than not praying enough.

And to its credit, the message ends with this: "If you can spare a little, help someone in need this Christmas. Let's all remember the real meaning of Christmas and share that with others."

Agreed. Because miracles ultimately lie with us. As Mister Rogers once said, "Wishes don't make things come true." And he was an ordained minister.

The shoes were a start, but...

I think it's time we threw the book at George W. Bush. Let's see how well his smirk, quips and reflexes help him dodge that.

UPDATE: Some guy on the radio just praised Bush for his dodging skills, saying Barack Obama would not have been able to move as well because he's too tall and can only move like a basketball defender. Huh? I can't even decide how offensive that is. But it is the first time I've heard anyone suggest that a quick-thinking and energetic 47-year-old couldn't go to school against a haggard 62-year-old buffoon (even if he too has strong reflexes). On a metaphorical level, at least, Obama already has.

Friday, December 12, 2008

But how would they fare against REAL bears?

You know what pisses me off about the Bears' win over the Saints, besides everything else?

It's that these insensitive douchebags are happy today.

May they get a piece of Powlish sassage lodged in their hearts. Oh, and their governor sucks too.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

It's February 1988 all over again! Except I'm two inches taller now

Not long after I visited Louisiana last December, the area was beset with several rounds of tornadoes.

This time around, it snowed less than 48 hours after I headed back to Missouri.

What bizarre weather pattern would you guys like me to bring next year? I'm taking applications.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Something I "won"

For the past week-plus, I've been having fun accomplishing nothing in south Louisiana. Tonight I'm kicking back at a motel near Little Rock, and will be back in Springfield tomorrow.

As often happens, a very random stroke of luck swung my way during my stay. While at Big Lots, my sister and I noticed a very odd toy in the claw machine. It looked like Richard Nixon, but was actually Missouri's own President Harry S Truman. On Keely's dare, I went for it. Fifty cents and some typically agile clawing later, the Nixon-looking Truman doll was all mine! Oh yeah!

You can't really tell from that pic, but Harry's head is cocked back in a way that, at the right angle, makes him look like Superman - a spastic, Richard Nixon-looking Superman.

So now you know I wasn't wasting my time all week.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Not dead

I'm currently in Lafayette, where my Internet access is as reliable as Britney Spears driving a taxicab. Combined with my erratic cell phone and MySpace's "profile maintenance," my ability to communicate seems to be thwarted by God Itself. Which makes my inability to explain my problem to anyone suck all the more.

But now that both my connection and the program I want to use are both working (finally), I'd like to share a few observations from this past week:

- Plaxico Burress shot himself in the foot by shooting himself in the thigh. He may have taken the title of All-Time NFL Idiot from joint-holders Michael Vick and Albert Connell (as well as literal joint holder Ricky Williams). Not only was every detail of the caper dumb (Bringing a loaded gun into a club? In your sweatpants? In the midst of the Roger Goodell less-than-zero-tolerance conduct crackdown? During an 11-1 season?), but the timing was just as bad. Come on, Plaxico! You were just four weeks away from cementing a positive answer to the question, "What was New York Giants wide receiver Plaxico Burress known for in 2008?" But now, the answer has nothing with to do your winning Super Bowl catch against the heavily favored Patriots; now you're just some goof with a gun.

- I've been told my shaggy hair makes me look like Drew Brees. Pictures forthcoming, because right now I'm just lucky to have text capabilities.

- I can get all the way from Springfield, Missouri, to Friendship, Arkansas on less than seven gallons of gas. That's just over 266 miles. Not bad. Loved the girl's accent, too.

- There's more ahead.