Tuesday, January 26, 2010

And the Winner is...

My son, and we are very proud of him.  Now if we could find out what the contest was all about we'd be even more proud.  Unfortunately, getting your kids to provide details about school can be as eventful as asking your fish to describe the taste of water.

So here's what happened:

I was a guest reader for my son's kindergarten class last week.  I brought DON'T LET THE PIGEON DRIVE THE BUS from our home library, and it was such a hit that we followed up DON'T LET THE PIGEON STAY UP LATE from the classroom bookshelf.  There was a brief intermission where each child raised their hand to tell me how late they stayed up (NOTE: Apparently Star Wars airs on Fridays and many parents extend the standard 8:30 bedtime to 9:00.  Must look into this.  Also, several stayed up until midnight on New Years and one little liar stayed up all the way until morning uh-huh really she did.)

When I finished with the second book it was time for the kids to get ready for dismissal, and I decided to drive my kids home instead of having them take the bus because that's the kind of Dad I am.  We gathered his things and went off to another classroom to get my other son.

When we got there my older son's second-grade teacher saw my kindergartner and said, "It's nice to meet you, congratulations on your Trail Blazer award.  We heard your name on the announcements."

I was too busy beaming with pride to notice if he said "thank you" so I'll just assume he did.

On a side note, when I signed the kids out at the office, the administrative staff complimented me on the interactive reading.  My younger son's kindergarten classroom is closest to the office, and the door was open so they could all hear two dozen tiny voices shout "NO" over and over again.  The Pigeon books rock!

When we got to my car I asked a few questions about the award.  The answers were as thin as the air.  Later that evening I asked my wife, and she was totally in the dark.  She asked the boys some more questions, and by then they were sick of talking about it.  We have yet to determine:

- Why he got the award.  From what we could surmise, he was nice to people.
- When he got the award.  It wasn't that day.  We are certain it was this school year, and confident it was in 2010 (but not positive).
- Who else got the award.
- What else comes with the award, other than the principal saying his name in the morning announcements. 

For all I know it was a Major Award, falling someplace between the Nobel, Pulitzer, and that leg lamp from A Christmas Story...

"Fra-gee-lay.  It must be Italian..."

Monday, January 18, 2010

The Next Bubble

Let’s talk about bubbles.  Did you ever blow bubbles as a kid?
Well he’s back in town and he wants your new number (sorry, couldn’t resist).

But really, I have a point to make today about The Next Bubble.  Before I get to it, however, I think we should review Bubbles Past…

The Dot.com Bubble rose in the late 90’s, when everyone with the foresight to incorporate, get a website, and write a business plan on a napkin could raise millions in an IPO.  We saw that Bubble burst around the turn of the century, when people realized that the business plan was really wing sauce and the vast majority of the websites lacked cool things that were needed for long-term success, like customers.

Then the Real Estate Bubble rose when the banks started writing mortgages on discarded napkins left over from the Dot.com Bubble.  It rose in conjunction with the Financial Bubble, where traders started packaging the napkins so that some stained with blazin’ sauce were bundled with napkins bearing mild sauce, and then they sold the mixed napkins as actual wings with medium sauce, and investors ordered them like they were manna from heaven.  Nobody worried about heartburn.  They spelled relief A-I-G.

Ha ha! You might say.  Nobody is that dumb!  And you would be wrong.  Those bubbles also burst when the blazin’ sauce ripped the financial industry a new asshole.  Which is kind of amazing considering it was pretty much all asshole to begin with.  That, my friends, is a lot of rippin’.

We are close to the point of popping for The Next Bubble, and I for one can’t wait to see it go.  So what is The Next Bubble?


For over a decade I’ve been watching as the political discourse in this country became bloated with misinformation and hypocrisy.  Sure, that’s just the nature of politics and it’s always been like that…but risk was also the nature of investing and lending, until it was taken too far, spawning an unnatural beast.

The Political Bubble rose as Republicans called foul on Democrats for doing things the Republicans themselves did a couple years before.  The Democrats denounced every idea to originate from a Republican simply because it originated from a Republican, even if the idea had merit.  Then they all gave themselves raises and went on recess.

Eventually the GOP started using churches to broadcast its message; I’m assuming that they did this because they couldn’t get any airtime on TV due to the liberal bias in the media.  With politics on the pulpit the Religious Bubble started to grow, inflated because of the with-us-or-with-them rule that made it so easy to identify the bad guys (HINT: it’s them).

It has come to such a head – the distrust so great, the stink of the mud slung so foul – that political discourse in our country is now a caricature of itself.  Really, US politics have jumped the shark.

The most recent evidence – not the first piece, and I know it won’t be the last – is Rush Limbaugh accusing the Obama administration of politicizing the disaster in Haiti.  Limbaugh said, "this [earthquake] will play right into Obama's hands. He's humanitarian, compassionate. They'll use this to burnish their, shall we say, 'credibility' with the black community -- in the both light-skinned and dark-skinned black community in this country. It's made-to-order for them."

Really.  Tens of thousands of people dead, and he reduced a show of support to a made-to-order grab for street-cred.  He couldn’t think for a second that they are sincerely trying to help people in desperate need.

Of course Obama has yet to actually politicize this, but that’s okay.  Rush already did it for him, so now whatever Obama does will be political by default.  Of course, Rush politicized his own heart attack, so can we really be surprised that he would stoop this low?

The problem is that many of Limbaugh’s listeners agree with him.  Here is a transcript from his radio show last week:

Justin of Raleigh, North Carolina: "Why does Obama say if you want to donate some money, you could go to whitehouse.gov to direct you how to do so? If I wanted to donate to the Red Cross, why do I have to go to the White House page to donate?"

Limbaugh: "Exactly. Would you trust the money's gonna go to Haiti?"

Justin: "No."

Rush: "But would you trust that your name's gonna end up on a mailing list for the Obama people to start asking you for campaign donations for him and other causes?"

Justin: "Absolutely!"

Limbaugh: "Absolutely!"

So these two “absolutely” believe that if you donate to Haiti via the White House website, not only will they pocket your cash, but they will then proceed to SPAM you to death.

It is worth pointing out that at the time of the call transcribed above, Obama’s website linked directly to the Red Cross.

Of course the Left can’t let Rush have all the fun…I’ve read opinions denouncing George Bush’s efforts to help, too, just because he’s George Bush.

The Political Bubble is going to burst soon, mark my words.  The Religious Bubble might burst in tandem with the Political Bubble, like the Real Estate and Financial Bubbles did.  After all, Pat Robertson had to jump into the mix and claim that the earthquake was the result of a pact with the Devil made by Haitians hundreds of years ago.  And you know what?

Some people believe him, too.

But I think the majority of Americans are reasonable, intelligent, responsible citizens.  We’re just quiet.  And one day we will take the microphone back, and you know what that will sound like?


I can’t wait…

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Shivering, and Not From the Cold

Once again my children have stepped to the plate at the last minute to contribute fodder for this blog.  Their youthful innocence brings marvel and wonder to life's most minor aspects, and I am proud to share them with you.  Of course, I'm referring to the phenomenon of "pee shivers" or, as Wikipedia puts it, post-micturition convulsion syndrome.  But for the purposes of this post, I'm going with pee shivers.

My older son recently had his first experience with pee shivers, which was accompanied by laughter and a lot of errant splashing.  It takes a while for a boy to master aim in general, and it's much more difficult when your body is experiencing a magnitude 8.5 trembler.  Even the scented candles on the back of the bowl are at risk of being extinguished.  Don't bother to ask about the floor.

I explained to him that pee shivers are a natural, if not freakish, occurrence, and it happens to all guys (NOTE: I hope this is the only "it happens to all guys" speech I will ever need to have with my children).  That seemed to end his questioning for the time being.  Then, yesterday, I had the pleasure of overhearing this conversation...

"Hey, I just shivered again when I peed," my older son shouted from the bathroom.

My younger son ran to him.  "Can I try?"

(NOTE: this is when I grabbed the post-it note and pen and started writing as fast as I could)

My older son zipped his pants and made room in front of the bowl.

"When, when I start?" the young one asked his brother as he got in position, ready for his first pee shiver.

"After," his brother told him.

"When you flush it?" the anticipation was killing him.

"No, while you're peeing."

I could hear the stream hit the water, then fade to a trickle and stop.  Then a very disappointed "I'm not shaking."

Alas, the pee shivers are not contagious like yawns and he will have to try again.  But I am confident that one day he will experience them.  As far as he is concerned, that day cannot come soon enough.

Thursday, January 7, 2010


Sometimes things happen around the house and I have to run and jot them down so I remember to write about them. Earlier tonight was one of those times.

We were eating dinner and my older son asked, "What does miscellaneous mean?"

"It means a lot of different things," I told him.

"How many things?" he asked.

"No, it means a lot of different things," I changed the inflection so he would understand better. He didn't hear my italics, though. He just stared at me with his head cocked like the RCA dog wondering at the magic sound coming from the stereo speakers.

Then I explained it to him thoroughly, but that part's not funny, so I won't go into it. You'll just have to trust me that he gets it now.

Also, since this post is about miscellaneous items, the 100th person signed up to follow this blog today. That makes me feel like I've accomplished something. Thanks everybody for signing up in the first place, even if you only read that one post; thanks everybody who faithfully lurks (and hopefully laughs); and thanks especially to those of you who share your thoughts regularly through the comments and your own blogs, it's been great getting to know you!

(NOTE: Damn, that was sappy. WTF?)

Monday, January 4, 2010

The Holidays Are Over

The holidays are over, and I can sum it up in one word:


I'm rolling off the end of a two-week vacation. Six use-it-or-lose-it days, nestled among holidays. Sure, I had a few conference calls to attend from Ye Olde Home Office, some email trickled through, but for the most part I was offline and enjoying the holidays with my friends and family.

Today is a day for alarm clocks, showering before noon, bus stops, and work, so I'll say it again:


December was a whirlwind for my family with events galore, ranging from weddings and office parties to quiet days at home. We visited relatives, had friends over, and had wonderful time alone as a family.

My boys shed tears Christmas Eve knowing the Elves would leave that night, but all sadnedd had abated by Christmas as the boys found that Santa brought them what they wanted most: football pads and Legos. Oh, the simplicity of youth, how I long to have you back...

Santa did bring Band Hero for the Wii for the whole family, and we spent many hours with the four of us working through guitar, bass, drums, and vocals on a bevy of 80's and 90's rock. I'm sure we looked (and sounded) like idiots to the casual observer, but when you find that the whole family can rock it through Mr. Roboto, you find that warmer family moments are few and far between. Domo arigato, indeed.

Here are my New Year's Resolutions:

- To see at least one of my books with a contract for publication. I'd like to say "get published" but with the speed at which the publishing industry moves I think it will be 2011 before anything hits the shelves.

- To write every day. Must be part of a novel, blogging doesn't count. So far so good.

- To post to this blog at least once a week. I like the irony in have a weekly Daley rant. I might shoot for Monday as my regular posting day.

- To do good work for my day job

- To not take for granted all that life has afforded me thus far, and to meet any challenges head on and come out on top. (NOTE: does anyone else hear the theme music from Rocky right now?)

That's all for today. Now it's time to get back to reality. I have an eight-year-old who just came into my office claiming a stomach ache, no doubt school-induced. Must get things moving again.