Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year!

Making lists at the end of the year is a fun thing to do. My list is in no way related to 2007, but it is the end of the year, so, why not? I saw one of the cars on this list the other day and it really made me think about ugly cars.

I present to you Six Hours On Sunday's list of the ten ugliest cars ever made.

10. 1998 Chevy Malibu

9. Dodge Neon, ca. 1998.

8. Chevy Cavalier, ca. 1990s-present.

7. Ford Taurus, from its conception to its death.

6. Scion xB, I think these turds appeared on the road after 2000.

5. Pontiac Aztek, ca. I don't remember. I just know they don't make them anymore. Thank God.

4. The 80s Ford Mustang.

3. Ford Thunderbird, the remodel. All those years designing, and this is what you come up with?

2. Ford Crown Victoria, ca. 1998.

Drum roll please...

and the winner is...

by a landslide, I should note,

#1 The Caprice Classic Station Wagon, ca. 1990s. I think I just threw up a little in my mouth.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Quiet Rooms

There was in this household, as in countless others, a great time of celebration and relaxation during this last week, but just a few minutes ago everybody left. The Bradleys drove on to a different part of Wisconsin and Kate went back to work for a day.

I am left with an empty, big, quiet apartment that is scattered with traces of feasting, giving, receiving, and a little bit of everything.

Pine needles litter our white carpet.

An air mattress leans up against the study closet waiting to be deflated.

The fridge is stuffed with ham, leftover Chinese, desserts, and champagne. It is so full that the Jones Soda Kate and I put in each other’s stockings can’t be slid in anywhere.

Boxes line the wall at the top of the stairs. They are waiting for me to take them downstairs to the recycling bin.

Pieces of our new grill lay inside, still unassembled, while most of the virgin grill stands at the ready on our freezing deck.

The tree has been stripped bare of its underlying fruit, but it still glows this morning.

Bags of unwrapped trinkets still aren’t put in their rightful places; a corner of the kitchen, on a hanger, or in a drawer.

This is a house crying out to be cleaned, but all I can do right now is sit down and think about how it got this way and be thankful for the reasons, and the Reason.

Merry Christmas.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

The Graphic

I'm hoping to give the blog a little makeover soon. The first step is having Jarrod put together some sweet headers for the blog title. He just sent me the one above a couple days ago. I took the picture and sent it to him and it came back looking a lot cooler, and it had my blog title in it. Obviously, there needs to be some tweaking because the graphic doesn't span the whole width of the header and I can't figure out how to make it do that, but I'm working on that. If you know how, please let me in on that little secret.

Thanks to JROD for the work.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

I hope she comes in on my last day of work

When I encounter a customer, like I did today, who is so mean that it makes me hate my job and nearly pisses me off for the rest of the day I wonder if it is worth writing about them. Does such a person deserve a keystroke? The touch of pen to paper? A lingering thought? Most would say no. I would too, but it is worth recording just how mean someone can be every once in a while. Maybe I’ll be writing a story down the road and I’ll want someone to be really mean, but since I can, at best, be only half as mean as the woman today was (even in my imagination), it will be advantageous for me to have a recording of just how rude someone can be.

Necessary background information:

We sell these wonderful things called travelers. Travelers are 96-ounce containers that we can fill with coffee, hot chocolate, chai, and other stuff sometimes. Travelers are in fact not wonderful. When you’re in the middle of a rush, they are your worst enemy. When it is slow, they are at best a nuisance. The thing about travelers is that they take about ten minutes to prepare. A traveler takes almost a full batch of coffee. This usually means brewing a whole new batch. One also needs to prepare sugars, stir sticks, cups, napkins, and some half and half to go for the customer. In the process of putting one together you will undoubtedly have to walk all over the floor and grab trinkets here and there that are necessary to complete the traveler. Just because you might have a traveler to prepare doesn’t mean that you can ignore customers either. You have to keep taking orders and making sure drinks are being made. You know? The usual. You probably don’t know, but you can imagine.

Since travelers take some time to prepare we encourage customers to call ahead with their traveler orders. If they do not it is a major inconvenience.


A woman called this morning and ordered a traveler and a dozen pastries. She was coming in 20 minutes. No sweat.

A co-worker got the traveler together. I selected a dozen pastries in pairs. I wrote on each box what was inside so when it came time to ring them up it would be easy.

Twenty minutes later a woman walks up to the register. She hands me a 1 lb-bag of beans and says she would like to buy them and needs them ground for a paper cone filter. “I would also like a medium non-fat latte. I also had the traveler.” She adds, with no smile.

“With the twelve pastries?” I ask just to make sure because she didn’t say anything about them.

“Yes.” She replies with brevity and a flare of annoyance.

“Okay.” I punch in the drink. I punch in the coffee. I remember off the top of my head a few of the selections that I made from the pastry case, but I need to walk about five feet to where the boxes are to get the names off of a couple of the boxes. When I do so I can see her shake her head and turn around to complain to the growing line of customers behind her that “usually they have all this rung up and put together for me”.

I come back to the register and am making sure I have the order right when I hear this out of her.

“You still need to grind this.”

“I know.” I wish I could provide video evidence of how this woman was acting. The dialogue doesn’t do her justice. Not yet.

I didn’t look up when I said I know. I was very fed up by this point because I’ve seen this all too many times and the company I work for is helping to foster this kind of attitude in customers, but that is a much bigger post.

“Your total is fifty-two bucks.” I thought that seemed a little high, but that was right. I sort of was hoping it was way too high and she wasn’t noticing, but it wasn’t.

She handed me her card. I swiped it. I handed her the receipt. She needed to sign it, but I didn’t have a pen right there. She needed to wait five seconds for me to grab one elsewhere.

I stepped away.

She sighed and shook her head. I was back with a pen. She signed the receipt and walked over to where she was picking her drink up.

My co-worker carried the traveler and pastries out to her and said, “Would you like help out to your car?”

She had this to say:

“No! I’ve been to a lot of other stores and done this before. They usually have everything rung up and ready for me right by the register. You need to get your shit together.”

She walked out and loaded her stuff into her Chrysler 300 and I caught one last glare from her. I stared back and narrowed my eyes like I was Clint Eastwood in some Western, but I didn’t think saw.

All in all, she was in the store for no more than five minutes. She got a good drink, got her pound of coffee ground, and her traveler of freshly brewed coffee. The funny thing about her complaint is that we can’t ring up a customer that is not there because there exists, unbeknownst to her, other customers that want to order. It’s a first come, first serve basis.

A customer like this lingers in my mind for several reasons. 1) It shocks me how; in the most basic of circumstances, people can be so rude. 2) Why are people this way? Is our environment breeding humans to treat humans like this? 3) Am I ever this mean to strangers, to friends or acquaintances? To strangers, I would say definitely not. To the latter, yes, I have, on occasion, been very mean in the past. 4) How can I aim to never treat anyone like that again?

And how can we forget this one…

5) Crap, this job sucks. I need a new one.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

I guess it rains down in Africa

A round of applause for working in Toto's "Africa" and almost 2.5 million YouTube views.

Hat tip: Dad.

Monday, December 17, 2007

I think it's only going to get colder

After snowing steadily since December 1st, the sun is out in Milwaukee for the second consecutive day. This has got to be some sort of record...I'm talking about the sun. Don't be deceived by the bright orb in the heavens. The temperature outside is 22 with a wind chill of 13.

This view, by the way, for those who haven't seen it with their own eyes (that would be everybody but Travis, Chris, and my parents) is right out our front door.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Trigger Happy

Charles Krauthammer has a Viewpoint commentary in last week's Time magazine. The commentary is about Iran and the most recent National Intelligence Estimate report saying that Iran has "not restarted its previously suspended covert nuclear-weaponization program."

Krauthammer is pleased with the report. He says for him, "good news is good news, whether from Iraq or now from Iran", as opposed to what good news from Iraq would be for him if he was a Democrat...bad news. I just love this all too obvious jab at the left in the first paragraph of the article. Because the left doesn't support the administration's decision to invade Iraq and to stay there indefinitely, they must not want the country to succeed at all over there. It makes perfect sense.

Moving on. Actually, I have only one last bit to share with you. Krauthammer's last paragraph on Iran and continuing international pressure on them reads as follows:

The military option may not be necessary right now. If weaponization has been suspended, the window for sanctions has been widened. But there is no reasonable argument for taking military action off the table. If the Iranians refuse to negotiate seriously--their new negotiator says all previous negotiations are void and talks now return to square one--the military option needs to be on the table and in plain view.

I sincerely doubt that if the NIE reported that Iran had restarted its nuclear weaponization program Krauthammer would doubt the report's accuracy like he does by beginning sentences with "If weaponization has been suspended". That is what the report says, of course with moderate confidence. Wouldn't you trust a "moderate confidence" from the NIE over a most assuredly from the inner circle of this administration at this point?

There is also this nugget. "But there is no reasonable argument for taking military action off the table."

Going into Iraq seems like a reasonable argument for taking military action off the table. That doesn't seem to have worked out too well for the world. Of course, the Iraq invasion may only be a reasonable argument for taking military action off the table if Iran is close to Iraq, is a Muslim nation, is bloated with oil, and has some anti-American sentiment within its borders.

I'm bad in geography, economics, religious studies, anthropology, and political science, but I could be wrong. Who knows?

Thursday, December 13, 2007

She will advise Him

I watched the Republican debate yesterday. As always, it was spirited, full of personal attacks, and only when the candidates were defending themselves did they mention why America might want to elect them as this country's next leader. When you get those nine on the stage there is bound to be some name calling. It's not classy, it's not really what I want the next Pres. to be doing, but it is definitely funny by this point.

How many times can Romney defend his stance on abortion? How many times can Romney and Giuliani go back and forth about their records on immigration and crime fighting? I must be way out of the loop too, because I had never seen Alan Keyes. I hope I never hear that man talk again in a public forum.

I am getting way sidetracked here. Andrew Sullivan links to the best part of the Democrat's debate today. I share it with you. Obama smoothly strikes back at Hillary's cackle.


A VCR From the Past

Have you ever opened up a time capsule? I haven't, but while I was in California last week my sister did. It was supposed to be opened when she turned 21, but my parents had forgotten to present the gift way back in 2001.

Having found it in the basement a while back, they remembered that the time capsules were prepared by a family friend and that I had one too. This friend had rolled up a Los Angeles Times from our birth dates and saved them for us. My Times is still in Colorado, but we had some good laughs looking through the LA Times from April 7, 1980.

I paid particular attention to the ads, my favorite featured in this picture. This is an ad for a VCR, very new technology in 1980!

Here is the good stuff...the fine print, if you can't read it all.

"5 free movie rentals when you buy your video recorder!"

"Our lowest advertised price ever!" Don't forget the exclamation point.


"$10 below our last advertised price!" Exclamation point again, for emphasis of course on that ten dollar discount.

And that little number at bottom center. "$17.95 each" That's the price for a blank cassette.

Now, back to the future.

8 lbs, 12 oz

It was a good day yesterday. The world got Brooklyn Hoge and everybody in the family got a new title. Mom. Dad. Grandma. Grandpa. Aunt. Uncle. Daughter. Granddaughter. Niece.


Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Oregon Fades Away

Chris is disappointed that I didn’t mention Oregon in my college football rants. Let me explain.

I, like Chris, was excited about Oregon prospects. They were charging through the latter half of the season. Not having any reason to be an Oregon fan, I was vicariously living through random posts about Oregon’s success on the Burnside Writer’s Blog. I could tell they were, and still are, die hard fans over there and it was fun to read about the excitement through the eyes of true fans.

However, when you drop three in a row at the end of the season you aren’t in the limelight anymore. Yes, if Dixon didn’t get injured they could have won those last three games and possibly been in the title game, but they didn’t. I guess I was a little disappointed to see a team lose all bearing of where they were going because they lost their QB. That says a lot about how valuable he was to the team. I wish Oregon was able to pull it together and win a couple of those to make it into the BCS, but it seems Dixon’s fall couldn’t rally anyone else into a leading role, at least not for the last regular season games.

Hopefully things will change in their bowl game.

No, I am not an uncle yet. Megan is still having this kid, but things are progressing. It sounds like Brooklyn will be born while I am at work this evening.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Uncle Update

Megan went to the hospital a few hours ago to be induced. It's happening. If I were there I would tell her to hurry up and pop the girl out so she could share a birthday with Guy Ferber who turns 28 today....old balls.

College Football Rant II

Okay, so I’m not the best at making predictions or analyzing college football, but that’s not going to stop me.

I told you Oklahoma was going to beat Missouri. It wasn’t even close after a while. It was a beating that kept Missouri out of the BCS. (It's always interesting for me to see how people find my blog. There have been a few visitors in the last week that have googled "Chase Daniel" and "chubby" and have been linked to my first college football rant.)

If the college football season was a couple of games longer I would like to see an Oklahoma and USC title game. It isn’t though.

I didn’t tell you West Virginia was going to win, but I sure thought they would wind up in the title game. Instead White had to run into his own player and hurt his finger and miss most of the game. They ended up losing to Pitt in the Backyard Brawl. If White was able to play for the entire game it would have been a different story.

As much as I loathe LSU, they probably deserve to be in the championship game even though they have two losses. I say this because their two losses came in triple overtime games. However, there is some reluctance on my end because of some awfully close games earlier in the season that shouldn’t have been that close.

As soon as WV and Missouri lost it was clear Ohio State was going to easily slip into the title game. I just wish they might have been challenged once more on the field since their last game on NOVEMBER 16!

Colt Brennan’s performance for Hawaii against Washington was amazing…and they still almost lost…to Washington. In the end, they got their BCS bid, but I don’t think they’ll be a match for the Bulldogs.

And lastly, Wyoming. You may not see them on the bowl schedule. That’s because they had an awful finish to their season. This is a season that began with the fifth largest crowd in War Memorial history to see Wyoming defeat Virginia 23-3. Yes, that is the same Virginia that is now playing Texas Tech in the Gator Bowl. That is the same Virginia that went on to beat Georgia Tech, Pittsburgh, Miami, Wake Forest, and Connecticut in the regular season. A blanket of injuries plagued Wyoming the rest of the year and led to a spectacular loss to the already pathetic Colorado State Rams in the last game of the season. That is sometimes the nature of the beast.

I remain faithful though, and I have two words for next year.

Cowboy Up.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Chuck Norris Approved

Somehow there are people out there that haven't seen this. Chuck was in attendance at the YouTube/CNN Republican candidates debate two weeks ago...supporting his man.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Not an uncle yet...

Back from San Diego. I am not an uncle yet. Megan is late, and will probably have to be induced on Tuesday. The trip was great. I felt great while I was there, not noticeably improved, but much more preoccupied with family, amazing weather, and an awesome dog named Greeley.

Kate and I fly to San Diego on February 1. Although we will not be there for the birth, we will see our first niece when she is not even two months old. We are excited for that trip!

I hope and expect to make a reasonable return to blogging next week. By reasonable return I don't know if I mean 30+ blogs a month, but I can't have another month like I just did. I don't expect to get any sicker. I believe I will get better. That should lead to more regular blogging, which is great; it's therapeutic for me.

We are going to Kate's aunt's house in Burlington tonight. That's a little south of here and closer to Chicago where we will be spending the day on Saturday.

Hope everyone has a good weekend.