So Taguchi's House of Super Fun Time

Monday, December 31, 2012

The Wisdom of Tommy J


My latest persistent pet peeve is rolling out the "Founding Fathers" to support any and all conservative arguments.  As if these folks had any inkling that a musket that could fire 3X in minute would turn into a AR-15 which can fire in the hundreds in a minute.  As if these gentlemen in the Age of Enlightenment would ever admit to having a "personal relationship with God" or "consulting with Him" before making an important decision.

So I want to flip it and point out quotes from Thomas Jefferson that argue my points instead.  These aren't Googled, but have come about organically as I read Jon Meacham's "Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power" and hopefully are close to the intended context - of both the author and TJ.

On crazy Christians who believe in crap like Intelligent Design:
"Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call to her tribunal every fact, every opinion.  Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear." -TJ

On those who only watch Fox News for their information:
"I am convinced our own happiness requires that we should continue to mix with the world, and to keep pace with it as it goes; and that every person that retires from free communication with it is severely punished afterwards by the state of mind into which they get, and which can only be prevented by feeding our sociable principles." - TJ

On the fiscal cliff:
"It is clear that if everyone retains inflexibly his present opinion, there will be no bill passed at all for funding the public debts, and...without funding there is an end of the government"  -TJ  (that compromise got DC invented as the capitol)

On civility in public discourse:
"A determination never to do what is wrong, prudence, and good humor, will go far towards securing to you the estimation of the world.  Good humor is the practice of sacrificing to those whom we meet in society all the little conveniences and preferences which will gratify them, and deprive us of nothing worth a moment's consideration.  How cheap a price for the good will of the other!" -TJ

That's all I have - Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Arsenal vs. Chelsea Game Diary

0’ - Good morning! We are live with Barry’s Irish tea, Brown Dog and fuzzy slippers! Arsenal has won only two of the last 15 meetings with Chelsea and are missing Robin van Persie and two defenders. Arsene, what’s German for “uh, oh”? I’m going with “ruh-row, Raggy.” Jon Champion is our commentator.

2’ – Ancelotti is wearing a black watch stocking cap. He looks like a mad Greek sea captain that turns traitor on James Bond – “Moneypenny tried to warn me about you, Capt. Zyrosgatos…”

8’ – Poor Ashey Cole is booed every time he touches the ball. Fortunately for him this only represents about 4.2 seconds of the elapsed 8 minutes to this point.

11’ – First case of Cesc-ual misconduct as Fabergas flops in front of Mikel.

14’ – Gunners controlling play here in the early going. New left back Traore looking dangerous on the wing.

19 – Ooh, looked like Sagna pulled down Anelka in the box. No call. Referee Andre Marriner isn’t Irish, is he?

20’ – At this point, Ashley Cole is giving it away more than Britney Spears did during the “Dream within a dream” tour.

27’ – Brown Dog is giving kisses during every close-up of John Terry. I am unsure of the significance.

29’ – Interesting news from the sideline – a small camera was evidently thrown at Fat Frank Lampard from the crowd. Polite Arsenal fans didn’t want to offend by tossing Nutri-system meals or gastrointestinal bypass literature at him.

38’ – I actually believe that Ashley is purposely getting rid of the ball as soon as he can to avoid the boos. He’d rather stay out of the play than get booed – what a douche.

42’ – GOAL! Nice finish from Drogba on the feed from Ashley. For fantasy team purposes, this pleases me greatly. I apologize, Ashley.

43’ – The Greek sea captain gives a fist pump on the sideline. “Zess! Meester Bond, I told you that my associate from Ivory Coast vuld come through.”

45’ – GOAL! Ashley’s cross sets up an own goal by Vermaelan. For fantasy team purposes, this displeases me greatly.

Half – Weird half. Arsenal controlled play, but never looked dangerous. It looks like they miss van Persie. Arsene just said “No shit, Sherlock” in German.

46’ – Theo on for Song. Do you think Arsene did his best Cliff Huxtable impression at halftime? “Theooo, my son, do your best. My lovely wife Cammmilllee and I want to see you succeed. You see.” Probably not.

(Note to readers under 30: the above refers to The Cosby Show. This was inexplicably the most popular television program of the 80’s despite the ubiquitous presence of hideous sweaters and Lisa Bonet.)

48’ – Arsenal finally looking dangerous. Goal taken away after Cech gets bailed out with a foul. When Arshavin’s face gets all screwed up with disappointment he looks like a giant infant. I shall now call him “Man-Baby.”

57’ – Arsene swaps the Mexican Vela in for the Brazilian Eduardo. On a related note, I swap caipirihas for Dos Equis. I don’t always drink beer, but when I do, I drink Dos Equis.

65’ – JT complains to Marriner after big man hug from Verms. Still unsure why this elicits kisses from Brown Dog.

71’ – Ashley pulled for Ferriera. The Emirates crowd give him a warm reception in recognition of his Arsenal days. No, not really.

78’ – Ancelotti has lost the sea captain hat and is back to resembling a museum security guard.

86’ – GOAL! Drogba again. Didier+Rooney=fantasy gold this week.

94’ – Full time. The museum security guard almost cracks a smile.

Made up Sports Quote of the week from Fuzzy Zoeller on Tiger/Elin controversy: “Well, she’s Swedish so she can probably just buy him a new car window at Ikea, or wherever those people shop.”

Fantasy Picks to Click This Week: With Stewart Downing as the new Gareth Barry, I like Ashley Young to kick it in like the old days (last year). Burnley is horrible on the road, so how about a look at Pompey's Dindane? (Yes, I know its Pompey) I like how Traore handled the left wing vs. Chelsea and since the Gunners are home to Stoke this week and he is cheap...

Friday, March 06, 2009

"Scenes from a Restaurant" OR "Why I Love South City"


Patron (to Bartender): Man, I usta get wasted all the time at your old place.

Bartender: You weren't the only one.

Patron: Hey, what's your brother been up to?

Bartender: He's in jail, actually.

Patron: Oh, sorry to hear that.

Bartender: Yeah, long story

Patron(to guy on next barstool): I guess that's why he hasn't called me back.


(Cook comes behind bar with 24 oz cup. Begins pooring Jack Daniels into cup.)

Patron: You know you can't drink Jack Daniels at their distillery. It's a dry county. You ever been there?

Cook(doesn't look up, removes spout from bottle to make for easier pouring): No.

(Cook fills to rim of cup, about 1/3 of bottle, turns and walks back into the kitchen.)



Saturday, January 03, 2009


In late October 1918, my great-grand uncle (is that a legit term for a relative?), Adam lie in a ditch in France waiting to go out of his trench in attack of a German machine gun. He was more than 4,000 miles from home - from the country he was fighting for - yet he was less than 500 miles from the birthplace of his parents.
More than 90 years later I am freaked out by how much he looks like me.

I wonder what kind of thoughts entered his mind. I wonder what he thought he was fighting for - for his country, for the nation of his forebears, for the freedom of Europe or was he just scared and regretting what had been a breezy decision many months ago to join the army?

Adam was the twin brother of my great-grandmother, Eva. (yes, Adam and Eva) They were born in 1893 in Toledo and were raised on a farm in Michigan. When my great-grandmother married and moved to the city, Adam lived with them for a time, then joined the army. My great-grandmother lived a long life and I still have a teddy bear she gave to me when I was a small child.

My great-aunt provided me with photos of Adam before he went to war. Some are the typical kind you might get at Six Flags or the like today - just a teenage kid with his sister and friends posing in a fake "Seeing Toledo" carriage. His sister - my great-grandmother - was beautiful, a trait she passed down to my great-aunt, although she claims her mother was the beauty, not her.
Knowing so little about his life, I still keep coming back to what Adam must have been thinking as he was charging a German machine gun post mere days, unbeknownst to him, of the war being over. I found a quote of an American soldier during that time:

"There are two chief reasons why a soldier feels fear: first, that he will not get home to see his loved ones again; but, most of all, picturing himself in the same position as some of the dead men we see. They lay there face up, usually in the rain, their eyes open, their faces pale and chalk-like, their gold teeth showing. I remember hundreds and hundreds of dead men. I would know them now if I were to meet them in the hereafter."

I wonder if he felt this fear as he charged. I wonder if he only single-mindedly saw the machine gun, trying to get it before it got him, as he was shot. I wonder if he felt relief and joy that the War was over as he lie recovering from his mustard gas infected leg. I wonder what his last thoughts were as he slipped away and was laid to rest as little French girls decorated his grave with flowers festooned with red, white and blue ribbons - just three weeks after the Armistice.

World War I had such a devastating effect on Europe, that today different countries mark its remembrance in different ways. In England, who lost over 700,000 sons, in November you still see everyone from newscasters to soccer coaches to everyday people wearing blood red paper poppies, a reference to John McRae's poem "In Flanders Field" to honor this loss.

In Poland it is a holiday of celebration as it marks the rebirth of a nation which had ceased to exist for more than a century of rule by Russia, Austria-Hungary and Prussia. It is a Polish version of the 4th of July with parades and fireworks.

I hope and wish Adam knew the role he played in this celebration of the place of his parents' birth - that he felt that he had contributed something and his life was not wasted - and that I am the first of my family to visit his grave in Countrexville, Vosges, France and tell him myself.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Dear St. Louis Voting People in Charge (SLVPIC),

- Isn't there a better way to organize than 3 lines based on what letter your last name starts with? This sounds good in theory, but as an "R," I was cursing my ancestors while staring at the empty S-Z line for 90 minutes.

- During this 90 minutes I also enjoyed having any "S-Z" person who entered escorted like a lottery winner by a poll worker - (speaking of pole workers, I think I may design a "Strippers for Palin" t-shirt - I just like how that sounds) - past the poor hordes whose parents hated them enough to saddle them with a "J-R." Sample lyric: "Zimmerman? Well, today is your birthday, honeybaby. You follow me..."

- I did like the "poll man in charge" telling the Republican Barbie observer to stay behind the table and observe, not interfere. I believe she spotted an Iraqi gentleman in line and tried to search him fo WMD's, invade his peanut M&Ms and liberate a green one in the name of freedom.

- The "poll man in charge" also yelled at the workers for verbally expresing their preference for voter registration cards as methods of ID to us in the huddling hordes. Apparently, they are not allowed to express any preference of a type of ID. Hearing this, I whipped out my fake ID fromhigh school identifying me as "Jim Morrison" with a bleach blond mullet. The workers were not amused - I think they were afraid of "poll man in charge" if they so much as cracked a smile.

- Can we all agree going forward to call the guy in "gentleman's clubs" who tells you not to touch the strippers as the "pole man in charge?" All in favor? Motion carried. Democracy in action!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

When the dog bites, when the bee stings...

These are a few of my favorite words -

Underpants (to a lesser extent "panties" as well - yes, I am 11)

Autumnal (I just used this in a work setting to blinking, blank, uncomprehending stares)
Uncomprehending Stares

Cocksucker (1 swear word + 3 "k" sounds = winner, winner chicken dinner)

Winner, winner, chicken dinner (I can be folksy, bitches)


Boutros Boutros Ghali (I miss him)

Abbastanza Bene (try yelling it in a bad Italian accent while drawing out the two "n" sounds. See, that was fun! Almost as fun as ...)

A barrel of monkeys ("monkey" is also a great word solo or when paired with "underpants" in any context)

Brougham (pronounced BRO-ham) Noun
1. original meaning of "a light horse-drawn carriage with driver outside in front"
2. taken by Cadillac as a model name
3. now used as a less formal form of "Brother" as in "Hey Bro-ham, lend me the keys to your Cadillac Brougham."

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Soccer and Wrasslin

Greatest soccer coach in the world, Jose Mourinho, with WWE's Vince and Shane McMahon

You would think that the lowbrow exercise that is professional wrestling has nothing in common with the highbrow enterprise that is professional soccer. The obvious link is that middle-class Americans tend to lift their noses and sneer at both. But as we have seen in the last two election cycles, America can be wrong.
I shall attempt to help you appreciate these worthy pursuits and their commonality in the tapestry of all that is good and holy.

The main thing they have in common for me is that they share TV time in my Monday night laundry fest - Fox Football Fone-In at 7, WWE Raw at 8. They mainly share underrated brilliance - wrestling has scripted athletic intensity - soccer has unscripted athletic radiance. Since you, the humble, unknowing neophyte may need guidance to see the light, let me elucidate matters for you.

First, the passion of both cannot be denied. Your typical Amazing Race, Dancing With The Stars, CSI: Tucson, MLB, NHL viewer will never see the joy of a perfectly executed bicycle kick goal or leg drop from the top of a 20' high steel cage. They have never felt the pain of their team being relegated to a lower division or had to look at the puss of the Great Khali in HD. This passion carries over to the personalities involved.

Take the cases of David Beckham, footballer and John Cena, wrestler.

The girls and casual observers that follow wrestling ans soccer loove these guys.
And why not? They appear in commercials with Fat Jared from Subway, Calvin Klein, Hans Wieman, Johhny Wad's Erection Rocket Pump, etc. They are handsome and handle their respectful field duties reasonably well. On the other hand, the hardcore fans HAATE these guys. To them, these two represent the Johnny Come-lately's who don't go about their business "the right way" and have not "paid their dues" and "disrespect the game." These are the Trekkie/LOTR/Comic book guy geeks combined with your grandpa that still complains he can't listen to Dinah Shore or pay $0.05 for a Nehi anymore. When the dorks and the bimbos go to war, it certainly is fun to watch.

The comedic value of the two entities is probably the best part. I give you the fake Italian guy (um, he's a wrestler, not a soccer player. Italian soccer player fakers are another blog altogether) with a unibrow, Santino Marella:

(in verry bad Italian accent) "I'll beat you like a rented mule, or a mule for purchase, bottomlines is, if there's livestock involved I'll beat you like it."

"If you wear a mask, it mean one of two thing. Either you ugly or... you are the Batman. ...And you sir are not the Batman!"

On the soccer end, the songs sung at matches are hysterical. On Chelsea's new Brazilian manager Big Phil Scolari, for example.

(to the tune of "Amore"):
"When it's World Cups you win, and Gene Hackman's your twin, you're Scollarrri..."

As I leave you to ponder my fondness for these hidden gems, let me remind you of their ubiquity. You can watch WWE Raw on Monday, ECW on Tuesday, Smackdown on Friday, on top of pay-per-view and other operations such as TNA. Soccer has English Premier League, MLS, Serie A, La Liga, plus these teams compete in other competitions including FA Cup and Champion's League - then there is the World Cup... Go watch. You owe it to yourself. And each other....