Sunday, January 20, 2008

Wish I'd Said That!

O.J. Simpson discovered that, although you might be able to avoid jail time for committing a double homicide, the justice system draws the line at attempted theft of sports memorabilia.
Dave Barry

Close to Home

Chicago Ad Firm Gets Porsche Account
Published: September 5, 2007

Porsche Cars North America is changing advertising agencies after eight years, awarding its estimated $40 million account to an agency that has never before handled a national automotive assignment.

Porsche Cars today chose Cramer-Krasselt in Chicago to handle tasks that include creating campaigns, media planning and buying, direct marketing and event marketing. Since 1999, the account has been at Carmichael Lynch in Minneapolis, part of the Interpublic Group of Companies.

The Porsche Cars decision came after a six-month review that began with as many as 20 agencies under consideration. The list was pared to six agencies and then trimmed to four finalists in July.

In addition to Cramer-Krasselt and Carmichael Lynch, the other finalists were the Martin Agency in Richmond, Va., also part of Interpublic, and Shepardson Stern & Kaminsky in New York.

Porsche Cars is the last of five automakers to have placed their accounts in review in the last year. The frantic — and intensifying — competition in the automotive industry is taking its toll on the relationships between clients and agencies.

Indeed, in all five instances, including Porsche Cars, the automakers changed agencies.
Although Cramer-Krasselt has worked on automotive assignments over the years, the Porsche Cars account is its first full national account that includes factory and dealer campaigns.

Porsche Cars, part of the German automaker Porsche, is the second account that Cramer-Krasselt has landed in the last six days; the other was the creative assignment for Bissell, the maker of vacuums, sweepers and other home products. The Bissell work, with spending estimated at $35 million, will be handled from the agency’s Milwaukee office.


The review was spurred by the recent promotion of Pryor and the company's planned launch of a four-door sedan in 2009.

In a horrible mix up of accounts, the ad "Porsche Sucks" ran on WGN TV...

Proposed Jingles:

I'd Like to Buy the World a Porsche

My Porsche has a first name...

I wish I were a Porsche Carrera

Just Do It! Spend $100K on a car!!

Get your sedan out of my sports car! Get your sports car out of my sedan!

Note to Self: Get A Life

Not Quite What I Was Planning: Six Word Memoirs by Writers Famous and Obscure

Edited by Rachel Fershleiser and Larry Smith. Harper Perennial, $12 (304p)
ISBN 9780061374050

From Publishers Weekly:

Can you describe your life in six words? That’s what the editors of storytelling magazine SMITH asked readers in 2006; the results, though decidedly uneven, make for compulsive reading and prove arguably as insightful as any 300+ page biography. Taken as a whole, this cascade of quotes from contributors famous and unknown creates a dizzying snowball effect of perspectives and feelings. Highlights from professional writers and artists include journalist Chuck Klosterman wondering, “Nobody cared, then they did. Why?”; pop singer-songwriter Adam Schlesinger lamenting, “We still don’t hear a single”; and comic strip artist Keith Knight illustrating “I was a Michael Jackson impersonator.” At their best, these nano-memoirs evoke the same kind of rich emotional responses as a good story: 9 year old Hannah Davies considers herself “Cursed with cancer. Blessed by friends”; Zak Nelson says “I still make coffee for two”; Scott Birch claims “Most successful accomplishments based on spite.” Some entries read like bumper stickers (Rip Riley: “No wife. No kids. No problems”), and others are just plain weird (Amy Sedaris: “Mushrooms. Clowns. Wands. Five. Wig. Thatched”), but this compelling little book will have readers and their friends hunting for favorites and inventing six-word self-definitions of their own. This review in six words? Read. Enjoy. Pass it on. Repeat.

Wish I'd Said That!

"A puppy is fine for Christmas, but what then for sandwiches the next day?"
Craig Ferguson

So Sad!

You might recall this photo from an earlier post. I used it to illustrate how sad it is that wild animals have no habitat any more. Now comes word from Brookfield Zoo that Dusti the giraffe died in a tragic accident Saturday.

An 11-year-old male giraffe that was found unresponsive Saturday morning at the Brookfield Zoo died of a broken neck after getting tangled in a rope, a necropsy showed.The giraffe, Dusti, was found caught in a rope by a staff member about 7 a.m. at the zoo's exhibit Habitat Africa! The Savannah, officials said.

He had been checked on at 4:30 a.m. and was fine, but at some point reached over his enclosure in the main exhibit space, stretched around a 90-degree angle and across a 61/2-foot span, and became caught in the rope.Located in a hallway outside the main exhibit, the rope was part of a pulley system used to hang branches and food for the giraffes. It was fastened with multiple safety clips to keep it flush against the wall. Staff members were stunned Dusti was able to reach the rope.

Keepers said they think the animal, which was 17 feet tall, may have used his tongue to grab the rope. Giraffes' tongues can be as long as 20 inches. It is unknown why Dusti was reaching for the rope other than because of his naturally curious disposition, officials said."It was one of those freak accidents; the staff is astonished," said Kim Smith, vice president of Animal Programs for the Chicago Zoological Society, which cares for and breeds giraffes at the zoo. "We are constantly looking at those things and the distance didn't look like something he could get to. This was not something he could get to easily, by any stretch of the imagination."

Not Suitable For Sensitive Viewers

This is just disturbing. A whole website devoted to bringing you hideous exotic car crashes. There's a whole section on Corvettes. One is a 1967 convertible, and I almost wept at the carnage. Sad. Just Sad. The idiots who leave comments can be a hoot at times, plain old offensive at others.

This is the proverbial car crash, at which you are compelled to look.

Best Comment: "It will polish out"

We Need a Bigger Stick!

Theodore Roosevelt examining sea turtle egg.
For conservation, that is!

Read this disturbing little tidbit, and began to wonder about my favorite president, Teddy Roosevelt.
THE PRESIDENT’S TABLE: Two Hundred Years of Dining and Diplomacy, by Barry H. Landau (Collins/HarperCollins, $34.95), built around the author’s vast collection of presidential memorabilia.
Now we can see what our leaders actually ate: at that 1843 reception for President Tyler, the first course was green turtle soup and boiled fish, followed by ham, corned beef, mutton or “fowls, with oyster sauce.”
Turtle soup remained popular at state dinners through the end of the century, as did oysters and fish, but other fashions depended on political considerations and the tastes of the resident president.
Let's face it. Ted most likely ate sea turtle raw. In his defense, it may not have been recognized as a quickly dwindling species at that point. Plus, he was a hunter who saw the need for land and animal conservation, so he's still tops on my list. See the list below!
National Parks
Crater Lake National Park (OR) - 1902
Wind Cave National Park (SD)- 1903
Sullys Hill (in N.D.)- 1904 (now managed by US Fish & Wildlife Service)
Platt National Park (OK) - 1906 (now part of Chickasaw National Recreation Area)
Mesa Verde National Park (CO)- 1906
Added land to Yosemite National Park (Been here)
National Monuments
Devil's Tower - 1906 (I've been here!)
El Morro - 1906
Montezuma Castle - 1906
Petrified Forest - 1906 (now a National Park)
Chaco Canyon - 1907Lassen Peak - 1907 (now a National Park)
Cinder Cone - 1907 (now part of Lassen Volcanic National Park)
Gila Cliff Dwellings - 1907
Tonto - 1907
Muir Woods - 1908
Grand Canyon - 1908 (now a National Park) Theodore Roosevelt fought unsuccessfully to make it a National Park. (Here too!)
Pinnacles - 1908
Jewel Cave - 1908
Natural Bridges - 1908
Lewis & Clark (MT) - 1908 (later given to the state of Montana)
Tumacacori - 1908
Wheeler (Colorado) - 1908 (given to the Forest Service in 1950)
Mount Olympus - 1909 (now Olympic National Park)
"In the Grand Canyon, Arizona has a natural wonder which is in kind absolutely unparalleled throughout the rest of the world. I want to ask you to keep this great wonder of nature as it now is. I hope you will not have a building of any kind, not a summer cottage, a hotel or anything else, to mar the wonderful grandeur, the sublimity, the great loneliness and beauty of the canyon. Leave it as it is. You cannot improve on it. The ages have been at work on it, and man can only mar it." Theodore Roosevelt

I So Told You So!

If by contributed, you mean caused...

SAN FRANCISCO - One of the three victims of San Francisco Zoo tiger attack was intoxicated and admitted to yelling and waving at the animal while standing atop the railing of the big cat enclosure, police said in court documents filed Thursday.

Paul Dhaliwal, 19, told the father of Carlos Sousa Jr., 17, who was killed, that the three yelled and waved at the tiger but insisted they never threw anything into its pen to provoke the cat, according to a search warrant affidavit obtained by the San Francisco Chronicle.

"As a result of this investigation, (police believe) that the tiger may have been taunted/agitated by its eventual victims," according to Inspector Valerie Matthews, who prepared the affidavit. Police believe that "this factor contributed to the tiger escaping from its enclosure and attacking its victims," she said.


The affidavit also cites multiple reports of a group of young men taunting animals at the zoo, the Chronicle reported.

Mark Geragos, an attorney for the Dhaliwal brothers, did not immediately return a call late Thursday by The Associated Press for comment. He has repeatedly said they did not taunt the tiger.

Now, if there was any justice on this planet (which there sure isn't , and despite what religious leaders may tell you, there's no evidence there is anywhere else, so don't get your hopes up) the city would sue these rich punks for unleashing a dangerous animal and endangering the public. Not to mention hold them responsible for their friend's death, and that of the tiger. But of course not.

The likely outcome? Donald Trump will buy the Zoo land for a song and put up condos. He's laughing in his boardroom right now, standing on a tiger skin rug.

I've Been Reading

Before I Die by Jenny Downham

This book came highly recommended, and I understand some people are using it with Bible Study for their youth groups. I thought the writing was stellar, very lyrical. I didn't get all choked up and cry as I was warned would happen, but since it was a person dying and not an animal, that was pretty much expected. I didn't think it was the greatest, but I did respond to the strong father character, something needed in all mediums. I give it a B.

Born Standing Up by Steve Martin

As a Saturday Night Live fan who thought King Tut was hysterical as a kid, I couldn't wait to read his memoirs of stand-up. He's a highly regarded writer and intellectual, but that didn't seem to be on display much here. I'll have to agree with the summation of Alex Witchel, who concludes the book fails to reveal any of the personal inner workings a memoir is hoped to give. He obviously had a tortured relationship with his father that affected the whole family, but that seems to have been resolved a bit to neatly in the narrative. I'll bet simmering anger did play a role in his choice of career and lifestyle, but to hear him tell it, it was out of sight, out of mind.

If only he had written candidly about his love life! Now there's a book I want to read. As is, this is a good book for anyone contemplating stand up. It spoke about the need to listen, learn, be original and persevere. But it only gets a C. Maybe that was Martin's point. Under it all, he's just average.

As God As My Witness

I'll never buy a Maytag/Whirlpool product again!!*
Yep. 2008 is only hours old and it already sucks. The reign of terror being waged by my appliances continues - some of which refuse to stay fixed, causing me even further trauma. I've been so bummed by the whole thing I haven't had the heart to write.
Came home one night after work and opened the freezer of my Whirlpool refrigerator (now owned by Maytag Corporation) and a drippy mess of defrosted food jeered at me. How long the unit was broke, I don't know, but things were spoiling nicely. I lost a lot of poultry and two gallons of milk. We had to call a repairman to fix a fan and a relay switch.
The next day, the Neptune Dryer decided drying was too much of a bother. Wasn't tumble good enough? I choked back tears as I draped towels throughout the house.
A friend observed my appliance woes were at first memorable, but now....
But now Biblical, I finished for him. Another offered to 'send lettuce' to the fridge's funereal. Thanks folks. You're the only thing keeping me sane as I eat energy bars with warm diet soda while wearing damp socks.
Maytag Sucks!!!!!!
*they need to make a commemorative plate of all my appliances breaking. Maybe the Maytag repairman laughing at a strip club while ignoring his pager or something...

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Widgets are Wonderful !!

Wow, check out the new Shelfari display to the left!! Cool, huh? Now I can feature all the books read in 2008!! (I will also count audio books).

Schulz and Peanuts by David Michaelis

This was an awesomely researched piece, and I agreed with most of the author's speculations. However, I think he was a bit too kind, mostly due to the fact that some of his children agreed to be interviewed for the book. I really think the man hated his own children, and this was only hinted at in the book. Was this a strange carry-over from the animosity he felt towards his wife? Denial that he was an adult and no longer a child himself? The author notes he was delighted at the birth of his first child, but then later noted the anger he displayed when playing hockey with a son. I guess that was pretty much the thesis of the whole book: duplicity and enigma. Excellent psychological study. B+

The Adventures of the Thunderbolt Kid by Bill Bryson

I would buy this man's "History of the Paperclip". He's that good! Just proof positive that nothing has changed in 50 years here. We are still facing the same challenges, only worse. B+

The Subtle Knife by Philip Pullman (Audio, narrated by Philip Pullman)

Now that I know he used Paradise Lost as his means to create this title, I'm waiting for the big letdown. This was good, but not a stand-alone. Please don't disappoint me Phil! I'm moving on to The Amber Spyglass next.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

More Tiger Tales

...He said when we left the zoo, 'The next time, let's see the penguins being fed instead of a tiger eating a woman.' I did not want to scare him by saying that this was unusual."

Speculation continues to swirl around the tiger attack at the San Francisco Zoo. I expect any day now to see an auction notice in the San Francisco Chronicle detailing used camels up for bid and listing the penguins as a lot....

The whole incident once again proves that you don't have to run faster than a tiger, just faster than your slowest friend.

The first attack happened right outside the tiger’s enclosure — Sousa died at the scene. Another was about 300 yards away, in front of the zoo cafe. The police chief said the animal was mauling one of the survivors, and when officers yelled at it to stop, it turned toward them and they opened fire.

So... let me get this straight...

The police commanded the tiger to stop mauling? Then used lethal force? Wow, that's more than most human offenders get! Wonder how a tiger responds to a taser?

Wait! Did they yell at the tiger in English? Spanish? Everyone knows you should yell at a Siberian Tiger in her native Yupik, right?

And this is just disgusting!! Right when you get your hopes up that natural selection works, comes this disturbing (albeit expected) news:

The brothers who survived the vicious tiger attacks at San Francisco Zoo last week have hired legal pit bull Mark Geragos in anticipation of filing a lawsuit against the zoo.

Geragos, who is known for his roster of high-profile clients from Michael Jackson and Winona Ryder to Scott Peterson and Susan McDougal, is already making claims about what he says is the zoo's "utter disregard for safety." His new clients, brothers Paul and Kulbir Dhaliwal, were released from San Francisco General Hospital Saturday and are recovering from injuries sustained in the attack that killed their friend, Carlos Sousa Jr.

"There are some very disturbing facts yet to come out about what happened," Geragos told "One of the brothers had absolutely no reason to be attacked. After Carlos was attacked, this brother ran to the zoo café and they would not let him in. The same guys who sold him nachos wouldn't let him back in. They locked the doors. Thirty minutes later, he was attacked by the tiger."

Ok, so if that's true, the tiger had to hunt him down to attack a second time. So exactly how bad did they taunt her? Thirty minutes and he can't find anywhere else to hide? Suing the zoo? They should file a counter suit. This is ridiculous.

Oh, Please!

You weren't even with your mistress that much...

"This is not a mayor or a governor or a president who's sitting in an ivory tower. I was at Ground Zero as often, if not more, than most of the workers," Rudy Giuliani

According to
By our count, Giuliani spent about 58 hours at Yankees games or flying to them in the 40 days between Sept. 25 and Nov. 4, roughly twice as long as he spent at ground zero in the 90 days between Sept. 17 and Dec. 16. By his own standard, Giuliani was one of the Yankees more than he was one of the rescue workers.

Why Me???

With 20.9" of snow at Midway Airport as of 9 p.m. on Dec. 31, December 2007 becomes the city's seventh snowiest December since 1928. O'Hare's Dec. 31 snow total of 3.0" ranks as the greatest on that date in 23 years.

The storm marked the 14th snowfall in December, making the month one of Chicago's snowiest ever. The monthly snowfall is 13.7 inches, more than double the 30-year average of 6.6 inches for December, according to the National Weather Service. Areas north of the city reported the greatest snowfall, with 4.3 inches in Grayslake and almost 6 inches near Rockford. The storm tapered off south of the city and in northwest Indiana.

Will I even live to see February???

After Christmas Sales?

As a professional shopper, I'd like to hit a few after-Christmas sales. Perhaps there's a discount for items with powder-burn?

Sorry, but mall shootings don't deter me, just like automobile crashes don't stop me from enjoying my cars. If I die shopping or driving, I died doing what made me happy, and that's all that counts. Besides, you can get killed anywhere nowadays... like at church!

Coincidence? I Think Not!

Just when I thought I would create a post about how 24-year-old women are an endangered species in the northwest suburbs, comes this news: a missing Des Plaines woman did not disappear due to foul play, but rather ran off with another man!

A woman who returned to the area after her disappearance last week set off a $250,000 search will not face criminal charges, authorities said Monday.

Solanki, of unincorporated Des Plaines, returned to the Chicago area Friday, four days after her family found her car running with the door open near a dam on the Des Plaines River.

She told her husband, Dignesh, she was going to the river to dispose of a broken religious idol after getting off work as a cashier at a nearby hotel gift shop. He said he became worried when he couldn't reach her several hours later and, along with a friend, discovered her car.

Over the next several days, police divers spent hours in the river looking for her. Investigators combed the surrounding forest preserve using cadaver-sniffing dogs.

Solanki told investigators she was unhappy in her marriage, but her husband was not abusive or cruel, authorities said. She had begun the 30-hour drive to California with a friend, Karan C. Jani, 23, seeking a clean break, officials said.

Jani saw news reports about her disappearance and emotional appeals from her family and encouraged her to turn around.

Solanki told authorities she never meant to deceive anyone or make people believe she had fallen into the river.

What I want to know is, how much did Drew Peterson pay her to stage this stunt??

Saving the World One Consumer at a Time

Why I Hate Christmas, Part II

So I'm in the local Target (pronounced Tar-shay, as if you were somewhere high-class) looking for a DVD player for my parents. After the fiasco of getting them cell phones I've learned anything more complex than two cans and a string is to be avoided.

The store is packed with people who think this is an upscale shopping establishment, and staffed by employees with IQs below room temperature. I'm browsing the DVD aisle hoping to find a Fisher-Price DVD player or My First Movie-Watcher or something when I hear two women discussing a discount DVD player.

"Don't buy Trutech!" I practically shout. Startled, they look at me with fear. "Trutech sucks!! Don't do it!" I beg. "You'll be sorry," I add ominously.

Warily, without breaking eye contact, they back away a few steps. "Here, try this Phillips*," I suggest, pushing the box towards them. Not wishing to antagonize me further, they meekly take the box and scamper away.

Whew! Disaster averted. I put the Phillips in my cart as well. Do they sell washing machines here?

*Yeah, I know. Made in China. Find one that isn't.

Go Ahead, Maytag, Make My Day

Gosh, it seems I'm not the only lonely little voice out in the blogosphere speaking out against coporate crimes of indifference - check out this site!

A landmark house under restoration in the Ridgeville Historic District in Evanston, Illinois has been badly damaged by Benjamin Moore paint. The historic home, built on land used by Evanston’s first settlers as a graveyard, and which also served as Evanston’s first schoolhouse in the late 1800s, is one of the City’s most prominent and visible buildings. Designed by the noted
19th Century architect Carbys Zimmerman, the 7,000 square foot shingle style home has been under restoration by the current owners for the last 15 years, who intend to return it to its original 19th Century grandeur.

As part of the restoration process, the home was recently re-shingled. A highly regarded vintage home specialist, professional Painters of Lisle, IL, was brought in to finish the exterior; the paint was Benjamin Moore. Tony Severino, owner of Professional Painters, in paraphrase, said, “After decades painting homes, I have come to trust Benjamin Moore paints so much that I insisted on using Benjamin Moore on my own mother’s house. Moore’s reputation is impeccable and I wouldn’t think of using anything else on such an important project as the old Ridgeville Schoolhouse. Imagine my embarrassment when, after six months, the paint began to peel from the shingles, and soon thereafter, the rich chocolate brown began to fade. Now, just a couple of years later, the house and its fence is peeling everywhere and the color has almost turned
pink! I am shocked.”

Representatives from Benjamin Moore examined the
paint and proclaimed it to be absolutely free from defect, explaining that the problem must be related to some problem in the 120 year old house itself, though the house has always had a painted exterior without incident. The suspect paint has since been sent to two independent laboratories for analysis, and, as
expected, both laboratories’ reports conclude that the paint, itself, was defective and the cause of the problem.

Despite the conclusions of two independent labs, Benjamin Moore continues to deny responsibility for the damage
to the old Ridgeville Schoolhouse, and has offered a series of bizarre explanations for the paint failure, all contrary to the lab results. The house, now a public eyesore (see photos), is adorned with banners proclaiming “This is Benjamin Moore Quality”. When asked to comment, the owners said,
“We were happy to use Benjamin Moore paint because Moore is said to be the best on the market, and this is obviously a very special house. It’s a shame that Benjamin Moore’s public image is so different from its reality. Who would have ever thought that a company owned by Warren Buffet would behave this

Astonishingly, though the paint has apparently been withdrawn from the market by Benjamin Moore, the company insists that the reason for the peeling and fading is not paint defect. To Benjamin Moore, it seems that it might be more plausible that the cause has something to do with the backyard graveyard
than with the paint!

and this:

Benjamin Moore has now sued us for “defamation and commercial disparagement” of their company, based on the content of this website and on the banner on the exterior of our house. Evidently Benjamin Moore does not think that we have the right to tell the truth about what has happened to our house,
or about their defective paint. However, the law is quite clear - the standard of defamation is “…proof that the publication was false, and that the defendant (me) either knew it to be false, or, believing it to be true, lacked reasonable grounds for that belief.”

Just in case anyone has a doubt about this, I will state my position here. We have no reason to doubt the conclusions of the two independent laboratory reports, both of which state that the failure of the paint is due to defective paint. This position is also supported by many painting professionals who have seen the house and have made the same conclusion. In the interest of complete disclosure, to this point, I have received a possibly contrary opinion from only one person, who told me that painting a house is almost always a losing proposition, especially in a climate like Chicago’s. His position seems to be that even good paint peels in these conditions – though he could not provide any explanation for why the paint failed on so many differently prepared surfaces, nor why it faded. The reports,
along with the opinions of so many professionals, easily outweigh the opinion of Benjamin Moore, especially because Moore clearly has its own interest in mind, while essentially every other voice on this matter has nothing to gain, or lose,
from their opinion.

Why I Hate Christmas

So I'm at my favorite book store spending way too much money on books and DVDs (as one former retailer quipped, "Just once, I'd like to work at a book store that just sells books") and I walk out without taking advantage of their Free Gift Wrapping service.

What's the point of spending all that dough if you're not getting every last bit of your due? I resolve to get my money's worth next time.

So the next visit I make a beeline for the gift-wrap table. Some bored teens are sitting next to a coffee can seeking donations for their civic group. I put in a $1.30 and hand them two books. Nice, basic, rectangular, rather thin volumes. In the world of wrapping - shooting fish in a barrel.

Apparently these kids were from Scout Troop I Dont Giva Crapa or the Ambisinistrous Society or something, as I have never seen such lousy wrapping in all my life. I was totally ashamed as they handed me back the crunchy-ended packages (it's ok to CUT the paper to SIZE, morons!). The girl did no better than the boy, so there was no gender bias.

I should have snatched back my bill on the way out. What is this planet coming to?

There were adults supervising the kids a few feet away, if you call having a cappuccino and yakking with another bored mom 'adult supervision'.

Did we not have a little training session before letting the wee monsters loose? Did we flunk cut and tape in Kindergarten? If this is the best your group can produce, it doesn't deserve to be a club that raises money in this manner. I should have complained to the bookstore so they could 'uninvite' this crew next year.

To my friends: sorry for the ugly packages. I'll shop elsewhere in the future.

Putting the No in NORAD

Just in case you were wondering how that guy in the red suit flew over protected airspace....

WASHINGTON - The US Air Force has grounded its entire fleet of F-15s, the service's premier fighter aircraft, after one of the planes disintegrated over eastern Missouri during a training mission, raising the possibility of a fatal flaw in the aging fighters' fuselage that could keep it out of the skies for months.

So Tempted

A local school district is looking for community input regarding a mascot and school colors for their new North High School.

Since the only reason this shiny new school is needed is my arch-nemisis, Rampant Development, I can't help but want to weigh in with a few suggestions.

School colors Gold and Red - Gold for the Century 21 Real Estate jackets and red for the bloodshed of the developers as they fought to put in the highest-desity housing imaginable at the greatest loss of trees and wildlife. What's the opposite of 'green'? Black? Yellow and Black, then.

The mascot should be a greedy developer with little devil horns and a tear by his eye. He can be turning his empty pockets out as he sobs that he has no money to give to the schools because he spent it all on curbs and cul-de-sacs for his sub-standard contracting. Boo-Hoo. We can call the team the Whining Rich White Guys or something.

Kids love animals - perhaps the mascot could be a deer with a little hobo bandana on a stick as he is driven from his woodland home, now paved over with asphault and traffic lights. We could call him Displaced Buck, a nod to how all the money in town went to giving the developer and big-box stores tax breaks rather than textbooks for the kids.

I'm So Going to Do This

ASHLAND, Oregon (AP) -- Friends of Chet Fitch may be surprised to be getting holiday cards from him this year.

Patty Dean shows a greeting card that friend Chet Fitch asked her to send on his behalf after he died.

He died in October at the age of 88.

But for years, the Oregon man -- who was known for his sense of humor -- had been planning one final joke, with the help of his barber.

He'd written Christmas cards to his friends and gave them to barber Patty Dean for mailing after he died. He kept the mailing list updated, and gave her more money when postal rates went up.

Dean tells an Ashland, Oregon, newspaper (the Daily Tidings) that a few months ago, Fitch told her that she'd probably be able to mail the cards this year. He died a week later.

The cards carry a return address of "Heaven."

In them, Fitch wrote, "I asked Big Guy if I could sneak back and send some cards" -- and that "Big Guy" finally agreed. He said, "Wish I could tell you about things here but words cannot explain."

He concluded, "I'll probably be seeing you -- some sooner than you think" -- and signed it, "Wishing you a very Merry Christmas. Chet Fitch."

Goodbye 2007 and Good Riddance

This is where I’m supposed to say how did the year fly by?…

At least that’s how every one of the seventeen Christmas Letters I received this season started. Maybe for people who aren’t locked in a life-and-death struggle with their electronic equipment the year flew by; but when you’re on hold, time creeps at an agonizing pace to the tune of Kula Lumpar’s Top Forty.

While all my friends were out organizing a breast cancer walk, sending their baby off to first grade/college, and had spouses inducted to the bowling hall of fame, I was slaving over a dial-up connection to bring my much-needed opinion to the masses. Who by and large, didn’t appreciate a darn bit of it.

I got so depressed I called the LifeLine hotline, and as usual, found myself in a phone queue somewhere in downtown Islamabad. I told the heavily accented operator that I was feeling suicidal, hopeless and depressed. He became very excited and asked if I could drive a truck.

Just once I want my photo to appear on the cover of a tabloid magazine above the caption “Dangerously Thin”. Is that really too much to ask? The only eating disorder I’ll ever have to deny is gluttony.

While everyone else gushes about how Junior is on the honor roll, varsity team and otherwise the embodiment of Eddie Haskel, I’m getting sarcastic text messages from my cat: 2na Agn? Our dimwitted dog has yet to learn to avoid skunks, and has used up all my baking soda and patience.

Not once in 2007 was I the subject of a DesPlaines River search or the victim of a tiger attack. However, Al did fall off a ladder while hanging holiday lights. Fortunately, we have a one story house and he was not seriously injured. (I still think the cat pushed him).

A Hollywood writer’s strike has ground TV show productions to a halt, only further emphasizing how sorely the world needs my comedic skills.

Here’s to a better 2008! It won’t take much.