Wednesday, March 29, 2006

VOTE for the manliest actor ALIVE!

Let's make one thing clear. I'm not gay. Not that being gay is a bad thing but including a poll question like this one necessitates this type of disclaimer. With that out of the way, I encourage all of you to cast your VOTE in my incredibly scientific poll for the MANLIEST ACTOR ALIVE at the top of the blog. After all, being a man means trying to find ways to become more manly. I am sure many of you use some of these actors as THE bench mark for manliest in your quest for ultimate manliness. Then again, maybe not but humor me. The criteria for this list is as follows:

* 20 or more MOVIES/TV ShOWS

* Must be 35 YEARS OLD

* You must be ALIVE

Some notibles that are not eligible (mostly due to their deaths) are:

Charles Bronson - Death Wish movies
Jack Lord - Hawaii Five-O
John Wayne - You know, that western guy...maybe you've heard of him
Lee Marvin - Known for his role in "The Dirty Dozen"
Vin Diesel - Not enough movies yet
Steve McQueen - Popular actor with the ladies in the 60s and 70s
James Coburn - Another western guy
Lorne Greene - main character in the tv show "Bonanza"
James Dean - Popular actor in the 50s
James Cagney - One of the best actors of all time - Tough guy from the 1930s.
Marlon Brando - Widely accepted as the best actor EVER!
Vincent Price - Horror movie actor (voice was in the Michael Jackson song "Thriller"
Humphrey Bogart - Top 10 great from the 1940s and Bugs Bunny cartoons
Bill Bixby - Main character in the show "The Incredible Hulk" and "My Favorite Martian" and a host of others
Bergess Meredith - Played the Pengiun in the original "Batman" tv show as well as Mickey Goldmill in Rocky

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Fastfood Amnesia - Update

Say your driving around town doing errands that the wife set you out to do. A trip to the drug store for odds-n-ends followed by a quick stop at the grocery for eggs, milk, baby food, some bread and chicken for dinner. You patiently wait for the inordinately slow seniors in the checkout line to complete their transaction. You get into your car and drive to your next stop using strategic zig-zags through side streets trying to avoid downtown traffic. Mentally drained, you decide that you need a break. Driven by the subliminal advertisement you've heard hundreds of times, you decide to stop for a quick bite at McDonalds.

We're all Americans. Apple pie, Fourth of July, baseball, barbecues, mowing the lawn and McDonalds. We grew up with these staples of Americana. America's weight problem aside, the Golden Arches might as well be the symbol of America. We are drawn to this iconic restaurant without thinking. Its our democratic duty as Americans to stop into McDonalds at least a few times a year.

You pull into the McDonalds parking lot already with a clear idea of what you want. (I personally grew up with the BigMac value meal). Sure, its one of the worst things for you: 1150 Calories, 50 grams of fat and 152 grams of carbs but you can't help yourself. It stares at you promising fulfillment like no other food can.

You walk inside and make a beeline for the counter. But wait, there are others waiting to order so you suddenly stop. You know what you want but the 3 or 4 people in front of you haven't even made it to the counter. The funny thing is that no one is holding up the line. There isn't a spill on the linoleum floor or some other problem with the cash register. Some unknown force has stopped them in their tracks and is now backing them up against the counter that holds the condiments where they are now frozen with blank stares. What's holding them up you ask yourself? Did they forget money? Was there a family emergency?

Oh wait. This can't be. Are they all looking up at the menu? Haven't they been to McDonalds before?

Here in lies the fifty thousand dollar question: Why is it that when most people go to McDonalds, they move as far back from the counter as possible so as to examine the menu above as if they've never been to a McDonalds in their life?

Sure, some of you say the menu has changed. Please, spare me your poor excuses. The basic McDonalds menu has stayed the same for over 20 years! The Filet-O-Fish was introduced in 1963, the Big Mac in 1968, the Quarter Pounder in 1973, the Drive-Thru in 1975, Happy Meal in 1979, McChicken in 1980, McRib in 1981, Chicken McNuggets in 1983, Salads in 1985 along with the McDLT which is now the Big & Tasty. Okay, some of the items went through some modifications but overall, the menu is a carbon-copy of what it was in the 1980s. For anyone over the age of 35, if you can't recite the McDonalds menu from memory then either you've never been out of the house or you've lived in a third-world country completely isolated from the modern world. Wait. This just in. McDonalds is now located in Morocco which is in Africa. So yes, its still considered a third-world country which means that if you still stare at the McDonalds menu, you're very sheltered.

Back to our story.

Here's where the problem begins for you: Do you step in front of them potentially upsetting the group still mesmerized at the illuminated menu in front of them? Do you stop and wait for the group to come out of their trance caused by their sudden over-assimilation of information?

At this point, the break from your hustle and bustle errant filled hour you've been looking forward has become more like work. All you want to do is place an order, get your food and get out. Fastfood, afterall, is supposed to be focused on speed and efficiency. We want our food now not next week. The high school kids behind the counter will no doubt operate at such a slow speed so that a sundial will be needed to clock their progress so you certainly don't need other customers contributing to the counter-productive nightmare that is fastfood order-taking.

Instead of filling your stomach with a "heart attack value meal", your pondering the ethical ramifications of your potential movement in front of people (who unfortunately represent a good number of the general population) who haven't paid attention to the menu during their other five thousand visits to McDonalds starting in childhood. Keep in mind that all of this activity--or lack thereof--is happening over a distance of 8 feet.

By now, 5 minutes have elapsed and you patience is getting thinner. Your stomach is growling and your now afraid that your decision might be an impulsive one with complete disregard to these customers.

Screw it. Your stomach makes the decision for you. You fly up to the counter, order your food without making eye contact with the group behind you, grab a few napkins and high-tail it out the door. As you make your way to the door, you curiosity gets the better of you. You have to know if those clueless people made it to the counter to order. So you turn around to take a look. What do you know. . The group is still near the back of the line staring at the menu as if Hamburglar or Grimace was hypnotizing them with dangling Happy Meal toys.

Sucks to be them.

As you leave the restaurant, the uncertain group of people begin to saunter up to the counter. Judging by their facial expressions, they're still not convinced that their food choice is the best one . At this point, you don't care because you got your food, your back in your car and relaxing with your 1100 calories of pure artery clogging delight.

What can we learn from this story: If you don't know the McDonals menu, learn it. Make it a point to know the entire menu from the McGriddles to Apple Pies to the Big 'N Tasty. Taking some time to learn the basics of a McDonalds menu will not only save time, it will make everyone's life that much easier. Better yet, just pack your lunch.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Family Guy Episodes

The Family Guy--due to decisions at FOX--was pushed back for a while and replaced with the football playoffs and other programming. Now, a bevy of new Family Guy episodes are in the can and ready for broadcast. Get ready for 6 weeks in a row of action packed, Family Guy action.

Episode Synopses:

Episode 73: MARCH 23rd
Episode 74: APRIL 2nd
Episode 75: APRIL 9th
Episode 76: APIRL 16th
Episode 77: APRIL 23rd
Episode 78: APRIL 30th

Friday, March 17, 2006

Random Pictures

Minivans: The root of all evil

Let's get one thing straight. I hate minivans. Scratch that. Mom always said never say "hate". Alright, I DESPISE minivans! Since the minivan's inception back in 1983 (see picture) , the minivan world was a place that I never wanted to venture into unless the circumstances dictated such as carpooling. After all, being 9 years old with a negative opinion toward the vehicle that was taking you home from school activities would have made mom and dad cringe so I kept my opinion to myself for 20 years.

Here we are in 2006. I am a proud parent of an 8 month old son, my good friend from childhood will be a parent of twin girls in a few weeks, my other friend from college is a parent of twin girls, my other friend from college is a parent of 2 boys and I still DISPISE minivans! I want nothing to do with a vehicle that exists for the sole purpose of carting kids to and from soccer practice.

Twenty-three years have passed since their inception. I thought the minivan would be just a passing fad. Well, the fad has lasted two decades and counting. Thank goodness the wood-paneled look is now passe. Now, minivans come standard with keyless ignition, automatic sliding doors, personal climate control for each passenger and multiple DVD players built into the seatbacks. What's next, a robotic arm attached to the domelight that has the ability to smack kids who act up or an internet connection straight to McDonalds so your kids can order their Happy Meals without mom and dad driving through the drive-thru? Do you see why minivans are on my "I'll never buy if you held a gun to my head" list?

Oh wait, minivans are convenient and make life easier for moms and dads with kids. Sure, I got that. I come from a family with five kids where convenience is of the utmost importance. But if your definition of "easier life" means turning your kids into sissies then yes, by all means, swing down to your local minivan dealership, drop down $30,000 and drive away in estasy.

Here's a conversation flashback from my childhood:

"I'm hot."

"Roll down the window!"

That dialogue must have volleyed back and forth between me and my dad a hundred times on family car rides between 1978 and 1993. Rolling down the windows or putting your jacket back on was the climate control system that I grew up with riding in the backseat of our family station wagon and conversion van. If I was lucky, the FM radio, add-on my dad installed might pick up some faint top-40 stations if we were pointed in the right direction. Otherwise, it was 40 minutes of "99 bottles-of-beer-on-the-wall" to and from grandma's house. And no I didn't walk to school uphill both ways in 3 feet of snow.

Before you verbally barrage me with your "your so insensitive; get with the times" cracks, let me tell you a story. My dear friend at is trading in his 2000 Mustang. You see, he's giving up his "baby" for his future "babies". For a man, its hard to give up his vehicle. Its his life blood. The vehicle becomes an extension of himself. Its like cutting off an arm or a leg. Without hesitation, the Colonel made this huge leap and will be trading in his Ford Mustang for betterment and convenience for his future family. After all, the logistics of having two car seats in the back of a car like that just doesn't work. Props go out to the Colonel for making the right choice.


He is trading it in for a MINIVAN! He might as well just drive his Mustang in a demolishion derby. Why not a family sedan? Why not an SUV? Some cost even less than minivans which are grossly overpriced as it is. Very soon, I hope to get some insight from the Colonel and his wife on their decision making process so as to get a better idea of why they are going the minivan route. (aside from the convenience element).

Regardless, I will never be down with the whole minivan craze. By today's standards, minivans and kids go hand and hand. Its hard finding a family that doesn't have one of these transports. I, however, plan on bucking that trend. At some point, I will be carpooling kids to and from baseball practice or band practice but as sure as the sun rises in the east, you will not find me at the helm of a minivan anytime soon.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Nathan's First Tooth

Before becoming a father, the thought of taking a picture of an infant's mouth magnifying it so as to give a close up of a tooth that just broke the surface of the gumline would have been the cheesiest thing ever. Here I am a few days removed from my son's 8 month birthday displaying just that.

Hope you will forgive the "cheese factor".

Friday, March 10, 2006

Bonds and Steroids: All but a done deal

Tuesday, news of a new book documenting in great detail Barry Bonds' "alledged" steroid use rose to the top of the sports headlines. So I let it sink in for a few days before commenting on it. Frankly, even after a few days, the story still leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

Since the steroid scandal story broke several years, I've reserved judgment, stood back and let the natural progression of events take care of themselves keeping faith that some piece of information--diamond in the rough, if you will--would shine like a beacon enlightening me to the what REALLY happened. Tuesday, ironically on my birthday, this missing link may have very well surfaced unlocking what most of us suspected for a very long time.

(Picture to the left is Bonds in 1998)

Two authors, Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams of the San Francisco Chronicle wrote "Game of Shadows" based upon thousands pages of documents and interviews of over 200 people concerning Bonds' steroid usage. (You can click on this Game of Shadows link for more details on how the book came to be) In it, they describe doping schedules, what he took, when and how long among other bombshells. Consider this book--from what I've heard-- to be the Woodward and Berstein/Washington Post Watergate story equivalent.

Stories like this that have potentially longstanding effects on the game of baseball peek my curiosity being a baseball purist of sorts. Invariably, the need for more information in an effort to quench my insayshable curiosity gets the better of me. So I google some more hoping for that one article that clarifies everything hopefully tipping my opinion one way or another.

The problem with this method is that there is so much information readily accessible over the internet true AND false. Consequently, the process of filtering out what is hearsay and what is confirmed fact must be efficient and effective. Needless to say, its a monumental task that I hoped would get easier. It hasn't.

Since exerps of the book--billed as the missing link to the Barry Bonds steroids scandal--came out, certain subtopics which paint a broader and more true picture of how this story relates to baseball need to be discussed. Many of these subtopics have been pushed under the radar (Why this happened is more of a discussion of journalism ethics which can be talked about at another time) which does nothing to help us understand the entire story.

Let's go ahead and investigate these misreported and/or left out subtopics individually:

* Contrary to popular belief, a male in his mid 30s can increase his musculature by 10 or even 20 pounds in a relatively short period of time if he works out correctly, rests enough and most of all eats the proper food. Yes, even without steroids you can go from 180 pounds to over 200 pounds in 4 to 6 months! Creatine, an energy source that is found in red meat and other foods can also assist in adding muscular weight. Best of all, it can be purchased at your neighborhood grocery store. I know people who have done this.

(Picture is Bonds in 2000)

* The increase in overall offense in Major League Baseball since 1995 has been driven mostly on three factors:

Diluted pitching due to league expansion in 1993 and 1998, smaller ballparks (rarely do you see an outfield fence more than 365 feet in the power alleys) and more tightly wound baseballs. One of the networks did a story a few years ago at the Rawlings Baseball Facility. What do you kno, the room that wound the baseballs was off limits to the reporters. Hmmm. They claim that the balls are the same but tests since then prove otherwise. Sure, steroids are a factor. No question about it. In some isolated player cases, steroids might be the main factor. But to point to steroids as the main reason for higher homerun totals and more runs scored league wide is stretching it a bit.

(Picture is Bonds in 2001)

* Here's a personal one that I love to debunk: Protein Powder does not come in pill form! I can count at least a half a dozen times where sports writers, who obviously have no knowledge of workout regimens and supplements, talk about "protein pills". Protein comes in powder form and, as of 2006, its great for you!

Anyway, back to the book.

If what the authors say is true in their outlining of Bonds' steroid use from 1998 to 2003, then its fairly safe to say that many other ballplayers could have been on similar doping regimens injecting whatever chemical they thought would give them an advantage. Scary thought when you consider that 7% of all ballplayers tested positive in the first year of testing back in 2003. Who knows how many players were using performance enhancing drugs in the 1990s or earlier.

Is taking steroid in baseball prior to 2003 considered cheating? Some people say no because baseball didn't test for performance enhancing drugs or anything else for that mater. In effect, baseball had no problem with these substances or else they would have been banned a long time ago. In a twisted sense, baseball--although not officially--gave their blessing. "Take whatever you want" was the non-verbal communication from MLB and the Player's Union. Therefore, as many people conclude, it wasn't an unfair advantage because any player could "juice up" without any recourse from MLB.
One other aspect to ponder: Many players back in the 1960s and 70s took "greenies" --stimulants-- to get themselves "up" for a game. Those are considered performance enhancing yet no one has made an agrument for inserting astericks next to players of decades before. By the way, testing will start for the first time for amphetamines in 2006, more than 40 years removed from their first alledged use.

Although MLB didn't test for steroids of other drugs at that time, it is a felony to obtain without a prescription or distribute steroids and has been since 1991. Do you fault the players for taking advantage of the non-testing era knowing that it was illegal? Many athletes don't care about the future ramifications of these substances. These guys are "wired" differently that the rest of us mortals. Anything to get an advantage regardless of the effects to the body; many of they don't care.

Beyond the physical reprecussions, the ethical implications are far greater and can't be ignored. While MLB didn't test for these substances which are illegal according to federal law, players who took these drugs did so with complete disregard for the game itself and all it represents past, present and future. It is this ethical pedestal that these steroid using players should be measured not the poor decisions made by corporate power politicians who represent the owners and the player's union.

Here's an aside about baseball cheating: Its existed in baseball since its inception. No argument here. Whether cheating manifests itself in stealing signs or applying a foreign substance to the baseball in order to change its trajectory players are looking for an advantage and will always will. But consuming artificial chemical substances that don't occur naturally which are illegal in an effort to enhance your body beyond what it is designed to do can't even be compared to Joe Neikro's scuffing-the-ball-with-a-nail-file incident.

Who do we blame for this steroid mess? Many blame the players and want all statistics marked with an asterisk who played from 1995 to 2003. The problem with that is we don't know was "juicing" and who wasn't because no testing existed prior to 2003. Sure, we have our suspicions. But how can we penalize players who earned their numbers the right way with proper workouts and supplementation? The fact is there are players who were using steroids during this period but we will never know with one hundred percent certainty who they were. Frankly, the stats should speak for themselves and left alone. The court of baseball public opinion with its deep historical tradition will be far more critical and damming than a simple "*" next to a player's name.

Many blame the owners. The argument is how could team owners and management not know what was going on. Its foolhardy to think that they had no knowledge. Ticket sales soared during the Cal Ripken games played record chase right after the strike of 1994/early 1995. Rather than inflict another black eye on baseball with a steroid scandal, owners just ignored the problem. Fans were coming back to the game, the sport was being re-energized and the owners were adding beaucoup jack to their wallets. Why stir up steroid talk and upset the applecart?

Many blame the Player's Union. Same argument applies here that applies to the owners. How could they not know? Many players were growing at an alarming rate and so was the frequency of injuries due to many players' bodies breaking down due to the increased muscle mass. Players were having career years offensively and their pay reflected it. From 1989 to 1995, players' salaries jumped 100%; salaries jumped another 50% from 1995 to 2000. The union was in the driver's seat. Player's salaries were going up and most of all, the strongest union on the planet--as some have described it--was as strong as ever. So why address a growing drug problem when it will only weaken their position?

Some blame the commissioner. Back then, Bud Selig was in a quandary. Does he officially bring steroids to the attention of the owners and player's union at the risk of starting another labor war? Most of all, did he want to deal with the public relations nightmare that it would create knowing it would continue to build eventually leading to a fracture that might not be repairable given the delicate state of most baseball fans after the strike? In baseball, the commissioners does not have the power that Paul Tagliabue has in the NFL or David Stern commands in the NBA. So, his hands were tied. After al, baseball was on the road to recovery so like dirt on the kitchen floor, the topic of steroid abuse by baseball higherups was pushed under the rug hoping that no one would notice.

Fast-forward to 2003. BALCO (company involved in creating designer steroids) was in hot water with the Feds, players were called to testify before a grand jury, steroid testing was finally established in an agreement between the union and the owners, congress became involved in 2005 and above all of this, a man at the heart of the steroid universe Barry Bonds was closing in on the most revered of all sports records: THE HOMERUN TITLE. As ESPN writer Gene Wojciechowsk said in a recent article, "...Bonds allegedly chose home runs over ethics."

Two weeks into spring training, this "super-tell-all" book comes out describing everything drug-related Barry Bonds has done since 1998. Whatever the fallout after the book is released, several events must happen: Baseball must own up to their mishandling of the entire steroid mess over the last 10 years. Bud Selig on down the line must take command of the situation and launch a full investigation similar to the Pete Rose gambling issue. I do not envy Bud Selig. He'll be walking a thin line between his extracting and subsequent handling of the truth of steroids past and present and the backlash of any recognition of Bonds' possible breaking of the most celebrated statistic in all of sports.

Most of all, Barry Bonds must come clean with baseball and its fans. He should admit to what he did and finish out the season with the scandal hanging over his head. He's on the verge of breaking the most hallowed mark in sports--the homerun record--which cannot be tainted by scandal. More significant than the players' union or the owners, the homerun record's very nature by its elevated status represents the game far deeper than any individual who might break it. Any link to the record by any individual or individuals whether against the formal rules of baseball or not should be removed in order to preserve the sacredness of the record. Its just a shame that baseball from the commissioner on down the line through ignoring the steroids problem created an even bigger problem that will take many years to dismantle.

As for Bonds' legacy, Gene Wojciechowski wrote, "The tragedy of it all is that Bonds didn't need the alleged chemical boost. His legacy was secure. His Hall of Fame plaque was a done deal. It didn't matter if we thought he was a jerk because his statistics were so overpowering. No longer."

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Age and Birthdays

Age is a state of mind. Nothing exemplifies this more than your first birthday as a father. Today marks that first birthday for me. Sure, I have a great job, a lovely, attractive wife, a nice house and a wonderful son but even with a steady career path and a wonderful family, I've never really thought of myself as an "adult" per se. Maybe its a function of society in 2006 with so many activities like video games designed to keep Generation X'ers from graduating into the everyday riggers of adulthood in an effort to foster a youthful mindset gone by. Then again, maybe I just don't want to grow up.

When I think of grown-ups, I think of my parents not me. When they moved into their house back in the 1970s, my father was YOUNGER than I am right now! Damnit, my dad is the old man not me! Maybe some perspective is need here: Kids who are in high school now were born a year after the first gulf war. Remember the OJ chase through Los Angeles? Current 9th graders were in diapers during that historic event. They don't even know what the dewey decimal system is...Oh the humanity!

Anyway, back to my mental mindset quagmire.

The key to fighting the mental mindset that is adulthood is to have goals--really, really hard goals that make you work. In order to quench the competitor in me, athletic type challenges are the best. Of course, it helps having a younger brother who is 12 years my junior to deed off of. So a quick pickup basketball game in the driveway at our parents' house (complete with an adjustable hoop) with the customary smacktalk during possession changes makes the games more heated, at least for me. I heard Michael Jordan would psych himself out during games into thinking that a rivalry existed when none did. This would ignite a fire within him and we all know the results: 6 championships. So, before these driveway games, I would employ the same techniques that his Airness would use. The result: Usually a loss for yours truly, a rolled ankle and a deflated ego.

The bottomline is that age is a mindset and through certain "creative" mental techniques, I've tried to push the thirtysome age factor to the backburner albeit in a losing effort. During my earlier years in the quest to defeat the effects of age, I decided to raise the bar to stratuspheric heights. My goal was to bench 315 pounds when I turned 30 in 2004. Yep, 3 plates on each side of a 45 pound bar. Through extensive training for 3 months prior, I did it! Two 2 solid reps at 10AM on March 7, 2004. However, the price was paid 18 months later with shoulder surgery to cleanup debris no doubt caused by my overzealous athletic endeavors. Since then, the bar has been lowered to more earthly levels. Last year on my 31st, my wife and I painted the kitchen.

Two years later on birthday number 32, I've scaled back my quest for athletic dominance. The shoulder is back to near normal and I'm back to playing video games with the best of them while enjoying time with my 8 month old son who chews on the controller cable while I play.

But you know, I can't ignore what lies ahead. The writing on the wall says the day is coming where my days of playing sports will end and my coaching days will begin.

But not this year. Baseball season is around the corner which means one more season playing with guys who were learning how to write their name with crayons when I was playing in college.

So here's to all of you who share a birthday with me. Please send a blank check in lieu of gifts.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Is it ALWAYS the wealthiest team who wins?

Spring training is in full swing and the debate concerning the "haves" and the "have nots" is heating up again. In other words, is it the Yankees who always win or do other less fiancially flexible teams have similar opportunities in October? Consider these payroll rank statistics when comparing them to regular season wins of teams in the postseason.

The World Series Champions are boxed in red. You can see that since the Yankees World Series win six years, three of the next five World Series Champions were not one of the top ten teams in payroll. Granted, the Yankees have money to spend no question. But it hasn't paid off in the last six years. In fact, the disparity between the Yankees payroll wise and the World Series winner has continued to grow since 2001. The difference between the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Yankees was $27 million in 2001. In 2005, the difference between the Yankees and the Chicago Whitesox was $133 million.

Thus, teams are doing more with less and its culminating in championships.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Last Few Weeks of Freedom -


My esteemed colleague over at in his last entry quantified his feelings four weeks from parenthood. To paraphrase him:

"....95% excited and 5% terror beyond imagination."

I can certainly understand his mindset being somewhat torn between two emotions that are diametrically opposed to one another. Its only natural. While most couples who are expecting one child naturally fear the unknown territory of being a parent, he and his wife are expecting not just one baby but twins--yes, TWINS!

Like the laws of physics when you work back to the start of the universe, my parental knowledge and experience at this point breaks down and is no longer valid. Why? Simple, I have just one child.

When my child was about a month out, I told my wife that our son would graduate from high school in 2024! Talk about putting things into perspective. Here we were sorting out baby clothes and I was already stressing about how to pay for the kid's college education. I would guess that the emotions "The Colonel" is going through are magnified since multiple babies are expected.

Without a multiple baby experience to draw from, maybe some statistics might paint a clearer picture of what the Colonel is going through. According to the United States Census conduction in 2000, only three percent of birth were twins. The chances go up to a robust four percent over the age of 30. That's 118,916 births.

Ahhh. Clarity through numbers.

In other words, the colonel---oops, my bad, "The Colonel" and his lovely wife are in very special company.

As a longtime friend going back to the late 70s, I feel some great need to coach him over the next four weeks until the big day. But alas, I need to take a step back. The Colonel is a smart man and he will sort out his amalgam of emotions in due time. He's probably painted the baby's room, assembled the crib and installed a plasma screen near the diaper changing station for Baby Einstein viewing. For all the preparation involved, nothing will really "prepare" him for what lies ahead. Still, I can't resist at pointing out a few changes that WILL occur after birth:

1. Neurotic behavior by both father and mother will become increasingly conspicuous to neighbors and family members. As much as they tell you everything will be fine, you shun their words and continue to act as if every movement or action will do irreparable harm if not done with utmost precision .

2. Forget about rest, you will not sleep for 5 months

3. Video game entertainment will also cease for at least 5 months...maybe longer depending on whether or not the baby(s) like to watch while you play

4. Current events will seem the furthest thing from your mind. As long as the power doesn't go out, you won't care about staying informed

5. Finally, time will stand still. See my entry on the speed of time

Anyway, the best of luck to you and your wife, Colonel. That 5% terror you spoke of will slowly go down but not until 2016.