Make A Little Girl Cry This Christmas!

I don't know how many of you have ever experienced this sensation on Christmas, but in my case, it sure felt good.

I'm talking about my 9 year old daughter, Kitty, and she was bawling up a storm on Christmas day.

Under normal circumstances she'd probably be crying because of three reasons:

a) I just got finished beating her.
b) one of her sisters hid a jalapeno pepper under sour cream on a tortilla chip.
c) I made her cut the onions for the spaghetti sauce.

But today the selection was d) none of the above.

As my girls were unwrapping their presents each was ecstatic with everything they got which is normally the case. They are pretty easy to please. When Kitty opened up her "big" present and saw it was a musician's stool, her sister Bebis immediately said, "I bet your Christmas present is upstairs!". All three girls run for the stairs with Loni in the lead. Kitty wipes out before she gets to the stairs. Basically it was the function of new fuzzy Christmas socks and a newly cleaned hardwood floor. I pick Kitty off the ground and she suffered a mild scrape to her knee. Not too bad. But she was crying uncontrollably like someone just killed her. I take a look at it and kiss her booboo and tell her that it's not bad at all. She is unconsolable.When her crying finally starts to subside, I told her. "You'll be alright, it's not too bad". She turns to me and says as we near her bedroom, "That's not why I'm crying, Dad". Then she sees her new keyboard and stand all set up to go with her musician's stool.She starts bawling again as she starts playing the keyboard. I sit on her bed and watch her as she plays. I didn't realize that she was as good as she plays. I am fascinated as she bangs out a tune with both hands. I knew she was taking lessons but she always played at her Mom's house. I had no idea how far she had progressed. I just though that the keyboard would be a good gift to facilitate her playing more.

She turns to me and says, with tears in her eyes, "I'm crying because I love my present and I am so happy". She falls into my arms and gives me a huge hug. "Thank you Daddy!". I actually start to tear up.

When you are a parent, seeing the joy in your kids eyes is usually a daily occurence. To see a child so appreciative of a Christmas gift, that they actually start to cry is absolutely precious. I always thought that tears of joy were exclusively reserved for weddings. I guess I was wrong.

And so were most of you that chose multiple choice answer A to my test question. Shame on you.

Merry Christmas from Bluey and all his girls (Tay, Tootles, Loni, Bebis and Kitty)! Even though we spent almost half of Christmas day in the ER with a severely virus dehydrated Tootles, it was a very memorable and wonderful day together.

Epilogue: Tootles wakes up from her 14 hour sleep and finally enjoys her Christmas presents on Tuesday morning. She's A-OK. That's a nice little Christmas present for Tay and I, considering how bad Tootlecious was just a day earlier.


Blood Pressure Rising

I just got an Xbox360 this past Monday and started with a game that I thought would be right up my alley. My gameplay style tends to lean towards mindless brutal violence, especially towards the slow moving undead.

Strategy??? What the hell is that??? I'm all about dicing and chopping zombies into a million pieces with an endless assortment of items including a big honking industrial sized lawn mower.

Of course, every once in a while, I do like to follow the story and missions in games in between the rampant carnage.But "Dead Rising" doesn't allow for that. They have a system where the messages on the screen and the dialogue is so small, it is unreadable unless you have a 12 foot HD screen, I guess. I can't even follow the story if I tried, especially on my 29 inch screen.

How this title got past beta testers as is is unfuckingbelievable.

Someone should get shot for passing this game in QC tests. Better yet, let me use the scythe to stab their neck and pop their head off like a daisy. This game has a huge amount of potential for lovely carnage with it's multitude of bludgeoning weapons (you can pretty much use anything on the screen to fight zombies, including busting them in the head with their own severed arm). But, alas, the game gives just as much ass cancer as it does pleasure.

Is there any chance that Capcom will release a fixed version of the game? Probably not, and it's a real shame because this could have very well been my most favorite game ever.

Oh, and to my buddies on Xbox Live, Doc Bluey is coming soon. I'm just waiting for Griffin to come and hook my Xbox360 wireless and transfer my Xbox Live account from the old Xbox. So beware Jumpman, Supermonkey, Gromit, Tankboy et al..., because I'm coming soon to legislate. If I can only figure out what these damn buttons do.Star, dot, circle, double diamond...left trigger finger (but now there's two of em'). I'm so confused.


Aspinvaal Christmas Cookie Exchange Goes Awry!

Gingerbread men rounded up all thumbprint, sugar cookies and peanut butter balls in an effort to re-establish themselves as the master holiday cookie.

Local bakers Herr Gavo and Frau Kristabella were brought in for questioning by the local authorities.


"Oh My God...I May Have To Play Nice With Republicans After All!"

I never had much of an issue with Democrats taking over control of the House and the Senate this past election. I figured that it would give the Democrats a stage to showcase their ideas for America.
Then I listened to future House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, congresswoman CA. She is one divisive bitch, not only, seemingly, in her own party but between parties. I actually sat through an interview with Barbara Walters this week with Pelosi. Barbara had her #1 on a list of 2006's influential people or some nonsense like that. Patrick Dempsey from Grey's Anatomy was #2 on the list (seemingly because he is "hot"). Anyway, if you hear Nancy talk, she is extremely full of herself and not exactly the person expected to bring much bipartisan support. Let's just say that she should be glad that the Democrats have a clear majority in the House and also the advantage in the Senate. Of course, she is a huge George Bush attacker, which is basically her right, but I don't think that the Speaker of the House should have such a belligerance to the sitting president. She basically feels that Bush is unqualified to be president but has backtracked a little in her recent semantics.
On the Barbara Walters show (is it too late for Bawbwa Wawa to get speech therapy at 84 years of age?), she said something on the lines of "who better to clean up the government than a grandmother?"
Of course that sounds all nice but once again, after hearing her talk for 5 minutes, I don't have any clear impression on what her ideas are except somehow traveling back in time and removing troops from Iraq in May of 2006. She's really good at tearing down Republicans though. She has a real gift for being a partisan bully. Of course, she doesn't have to play nice with Republicans after the landslide Democratic win in November.
Or does she? Now that Tim Johnson, Democratic Senator of South Dakota has suffered an anuerysm of sorts and is in critical condition, there is a real chance that the Republicans will regain control of the Senate if SD governor Mike Rounds appoints a Republican to replace Tim Johnson if Johnson cannot continue. All of a sudden, all of Nancy Pelosi's divisive bullshit comes home to roost. The Senate would be able to block any bill that comes out of the House.
Now don't get me wrong, I hope that Johnson makes a full recovery or that Mike Rounds appoints the next qualified democrat to replace Johnson. But it just goes to show that you reap what you sow and that bad karma given comes right back to you. Nancy Pelosi is a nasty egotist and the Dems should replace her with someone with a little more bipartisan sensibilities.
Polarizing Democrats and Republicans are the people we should be voting out of office. Nancy Pelosi is clearly one of these people on the Dem side.
Way to go Nance! It looks like you'll render yourself irrelevant before you even get started.
Here is another shining example of Nancy's prowess in her recent selection of a chairperson of the House Intelligence committee, as reported by the Wall Street Journal:
Pelosi's Intelligence Man - December 14, 2006; Page A20As Speaker-to-be Nancy Pelosi's choice to be the next Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Texas Democrat Silvestre Reyes will share responsibility for the budgets and oversight of U.S. spy agencies, as well as receive regular briefings on classified intelligence. But it appears he first needs a remedial course on America's terrorist enemies.
In an interview with Congressional Quarterly, Mr. Reyes was unable to answer basic questions about the sectarian nature of both al Qaeda and Hezbollah. "Predominantly -- probably Shiite," he responded when asked about the strain of Islam that animates al Qaeda. The truth is that al Qaeda is composed of Sunni extremists who slaughter Iraqi Shiites on a daily basis. And when CQ's reporter turned to Hezbollah, Mr. Reyes said, "Why do you ask me these questions at five o'clock?" Perhaps because he's only had 23 years since the Iranian-backed Shiite terror group blew up the Beirut Marine barracks to figure that one out.
It's not as if House Democrats didn't have a qualified candidate for the Intelligence Committee chair. That would be California's Jane Harman, who served with distinction as ranking Member in the current Congress. But Ms. Pelosi thought Ms. Harman was too hawkish and not partisan enough in opposing Bush Administration policy.
So she floated the name of Florida's Alcee Hastings for the chairmanship, though a Democratic Congress had voted to impeach him as a federal judge. When that choice came under post-election criticism, Ms. Pelosi tried to mollify the Black Caucus for dumping Mr. Hastings by picking someone from the Hispanic Caucus, the untutored Mr. Reyes.
So it appears America will fight the next two years of the war on terror with an important Congressional post occupied by a man who has no grasp at all of the dynamics of the conflicts in Iraq, Lebanon and the broader Middle East. This isn't an auspicious start by Democrats who hoped to campaign in 2008 having established some credibility on national security.


Last Night's Dream

I was carting around my three daughters and bought fast food dinners for two of them and was looking to pick up a meal for the third when the person at the counter said that they had no change for a twenty. I found a bill changer but it only spit out three $1 bills. I was just on my way to yell at someone when Tay woke me up.

I said "Damn, Tay, I was just about to tear into someone's ass!" Tay asked me about my dream and she immediately started to psycho-analyze it. "Maybe it means that you have anxiety about paying for your daughters' college, weddings etc...". I was a little skeptical of that assessment and asked what the other dreams I had that night meant.

"What were they?" Tay innocently asked.

"In one dream, I was standing on the sidewalk and my girls, you and your daughter were hooking up hoses to my body and then started pumping individual bicycle pumps until I was entirely deflated", I said.

She frowned. "You idiot."

"In another dream, I was a big giant slug and the five of you were pouring cannisters of Morton's salt on me until I was shriveled to just about nothing. What could these dreams possibly mean?".

"You know, you're a real jerk".

"I know honey......I know".


Rock, Paper, Scissors, El Diablo and the Shocker!

Every once in a while, the staff of the Wall Street Journal show that they are not entirely stuffy and do have a sense of humor.
Last March, they ran one of my all-time favorite articles concerning "the grand sport of rock-paper-scissors". The article documented the pissing match between an upstart U.S.A Rock-Paper-Scissors league started by Hollywood producers and supported by Bud Light girls in local watering holes and the Toronto-based World RPS Society which has proclaimed itself as caretaker and the sole recognized "governing body of the sport".
I have included a link to the article but I think you need an online WSJ subscription to access the page.
Here are some of my favorite lines from the article:
For too long, adults who gather in clubs looking for competition have had only pool or darts to challenge them. Finally, there's a true sport where talent can be showcased.
The World and U.S. leagues agree that rock-paper-scissors is a game of strategy. "Selecting throws in advance helps prevent unconscious patterns from forming and can sometimes reduce the subconscious signals that give away the next throw," the World Society's Web site advises. Advanced players twitch fingers to confuse fist-watching foes, or delay unveiling a throw until the last possible instant.
The U.S. league asserts, "All cries of 'RPS is just random' disappear the moment one's opponent states, 'I dare you to open with rock, you sissy.'
The World Society describes two throws of scissors sandwiched around a paper as "an invasive and devious gambit." The U.S. league says a man who throws two papers then a rock has never kissed a girl.
The World Society deplores the U.S. league officiating as lax. "There doesn't seem to be any accountability or quality control," says Shawn Ring, 29, a World Society member in Philadelphia. At a recent U.S. league event, he claims a referee allowed a contestant to make a patently illegal vertical paper throw.
The U.S. league's Web site displays a video of the "Girls of RPS," scantily dressed women nicknamed Rock, Paper and Scissors, cavorting to pulsing music. The World Society posted a critique on its Web site saying the U.S. league had "chosen to go down that old tired and true route of hiring strippers for a cheese-fest" rather than celebrate women "who have actually played RPS.
The U.S. league shot back on its Web site that the World Society was sexist for implying that an attractive woman couldn't be good at rock-paper-scissors. "Brothers Graham and Doug Walker obviously know nothing of beautiful women, most likely because they've never actually spoken to one," the Web site declared.

Now, I've been playing RPS with my daughters for years and they are quite good at it, especially my 9 year old, Kitty. She regularly beats me in a two out of three game. Unfortunately, since I am a known Cheaty McCheaterson, I have made new hand signs to counter her traditional throws.

"El Diablo" (shown at top of article) is a throw in which, the devil splits rock, melts scissors and burns paper and is unbeatable.
I pretty much made it a habit to throw an assortment of hand gestures I continually make up such as "Crane", "Rake", "Gun", "Peace", "Loser" and many others in an attempt to cheat Kitty out of victory. I'd make confusing arguments as to what each was and why each beat her throw.
When Kitty got wise and started throwing El Diablo back at me, I countered with "Halo", which banishes El Diablo back to Hades. Unfortunately, Kitty argues that "Halo" is plugged by rock, covered by paper and cut by scissors. We're still continuing to argue that one out.
Needless to say, I think we should keep our alternative methods away from the prying ears of the World RPS Society, who would surely frown on our ammendments to the "grand game of rock, paper, scissors".
I'm just trying to figure out how to utilize "the Shocker" in a RPS game. For obvious reasons, I've refrained from throwing it in a game with my daughters.


Weekend Warrior Championship: Black Ice 2, Oilers 1.

After playing in adult ice hockey leagues for the better part of 10 years or so, I felt like Ray Bourque last night as our Black Ice squad skated home with the championship in our C level league.

I have no delusions of greatness however, as I've been the part of mostly 1 and 2 win teams for the majority of my adult league tenure and I was starting to think that I was a "shleprock" to the teams I've played for, bringing bad juju or karma in some way. All of that disappeared last night as the Black Ice skated to old man glory. After being outskated in a scoreless first period, the Black Ice took control of the game in the second and came out with a 1-1 tie going into the third. Midway through the third period, we broke the tie and played solid defensively to preserve the victory 2-1.

Finally winning one of these things at 40 is sweet, especially with friends. Blue, the Black Ice founder and caretaker, and Meersky, playing in three adult leagues concurrently, played pivotal roles during the season. The Black Ice won in a multiple round shootout using all of their players in a tied semifinal game just to advance to the Final two weeks before. Meersky scored a shootout goal to keep the season alive in that game. Meersky also played the first games I've ever seen him play on defense.

Overall, a great effort by all, especially by our team MVP, our goaltender, Brian, who was spectacular all season and made unbelievably crazy saves last night. I'm glad to finally taste sweet victory!

Bluey's World Merchandise