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Friday, April 30, 2010

Something else

Let me get this out right now:

I'm incredibly depressed about the ecological disaster occurring off the coast of Louisiana. Yes, I'm talking about the BP oil spill, which is currently still spilling as I write this. BP still can't "plug the hole," and the oil continues to gush.

Which leads me to something else that has been in the news this week. Stephen Hawking, in a Discovery Channel documentary, warns against trying to make contact with extraterrestrials. He's concerned that extraterrestrials may not have the best interests of Earth in mind. It was such a big deal apparently (the world's preeminent mathematician/scientist weighing in on such cosmic matters) that NPR's "On Point" program devoted an entire hour to the subject. (Don't know if it was worth a whole hour). All I've got to say is that if we can't even get our shit together on Earth, why do we really need to contact E.T.s? Just a thought (from a mind not nearly as brilliant as Mr. Hawking).

(Dont't get me wrong, though. For what it's worth, the thought of extraterrestrial contact is very exciting to me).

Speaking of Stephen Hawking. My five-year old, Devon, watched part of the Discovery Channel documentary with us. Was he freaked out by the portrayal of alien life forms? No, he was freaked out by the strange sight of a motionless, slumped Hawking in his wheelchair. The poor little guy couldn't sleep that night and was obsessed with Hawking for days afterwards. We (his parents) did our best to explain that Stephen Hawking is an extremely intelligent man with a good sense of humor who had the misfortune of being struck down with something called Lou Gehrig's disease (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis). Thankfully, Devon seems to be fully recovered now from his emotional trauma.

Been in a Black Sabbath mood the last several days. I'm pretty mercurial when it comes to what music I happen to want to listen to, so by next week I will have probably moved to something else. How is it that I wrote off Sabbath for so long. My, did those guys rock. (Was that just the most obvious, "duh, no shit Sherlock" statement ever uttered?). I've been cranking Paranoid and Master of Reality in my car stereo the last few days. Turned on my son Avery to "Iron Man." He has declared it a "cool song." I suppose for too long I either associated Ozzy and crew with the lunkheads I went to high school with and just wrote them off, or else just thought of Ozzy as a former bat head chomping ignoramus. His reality show on MTV didn't help his standing with me much, either. I now realize I was being entirely unfair to Ozzy, as well as Tony Iommi and the rest of Sabbath.

Ozzy's solo album, Blizzard of Oz, was on heavy rotation my freshman year in college. Truth is I have really good memories of that album. Maybe it's just nostalgia for those days of yore? I remember there was this guy who lived in the quad (4 person room) on ground floor East Shaw Hall ("Nads" was the name of our floor--you've got to love the witty humor of college-age males). Anyway, this guy looked like the "Stroh Man" mascot of Stroh's Beer (and was able to drink his fair share of brewski). People called this guy Stroh Man and his theme song was Ozzy's "Goodbye to Romance" from the Blizzard of Oz album. However, when he was serenaded with this song, the lyrics were changed from "goodbye to romance" to "goodbye to Stroh Man." Ah, college...

Anyway, I guess my point is that I'm thinking of picking up Blizzard of Oz next. I can be a (pathetic?) 42 year old pretending he's 18 again!

Well, that's all I got for now. Peace.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Dispatch from my boring life

I'm back! Once again, sorry to my loyal (but I imagine, dwindling) fans for my neglect of this blog.

What's going on in my life?

I'm excited that the Knapp's building, the art deco/streamline moderne jewel in downtown Lansing, is slated to be restored and re-adapted. Knapp's was a Lansing department store, akin to Hudson's in Detroit and for over 40 years, its flagship store was in this beautiful building in Michigan's capital city. Unfortunately, like many other downtown department stores, it died--closing its doors in 1980. For several years, the State of Michigan used the building for offices, but that ceased in 2002 and the building has been empty ever since. I work only two blocks away from the Knapp's building and walk by it literally every day. It's depressing to see the way it has slowly deteriorated, but I'm now hopeful that the building will be rejuvenated and resuscitated.

Recently my house has become overrun with plastic dragons, all of which have their plastic wings constantly falling off. Modern toy manufacturers seem incapable of producing any toys that come in one piece. Damn you, "How to Train Your Dragon"!

Sort of find myself in a grey area no man's land, sports-wise. NCAA basketball is over and now I'm stuck with the beginning of baseball season and the interminable NBA and NHL playoffs. Have half-heartedly been watching all three this weekend.

That's my dispatch for now. Take care, all.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

A few thoughts before tip-off

As usual, I'm extremely anxious and jacked up for tonight's MSU/Butler game. This sensation never ends, I felt it before Spartan games when I was ten, feel it now when I'm 42, and may feel the same way when I'm 82 (if I live that long). I need to remind myself that, win or lose tonight, it has been another great season for Michigan State basketball. They won another Big Ten title and made it considerably further in the NCAA tournament than most of us expected.

Butler sounds like a great team. They've played some tough teams in the tournament and have a 24-game winning streak. They are excellect defensively and play very smart. I hope that Korie Lucious plays well, because I'm sure he will be pressured by Butler's defense. MSU has proven throughout this tournament that they can win close games, and I hope that this, combined with the toughness gained through a rugged Big Ten season, will be enough to get the Spartans the victory.
This evening at 6:07 PM (what is up with those strang tip-off times?), Michigan State will play the Butler Bulldogs for a shot at the NCAA national championship game on Monday. It's yet another magnificent coaching performance by Tom Izzo, and proof of what this team was capable of doing when and if they set their minds to it.

Some naysayers (there are always some naysayers out there) point out that MSU has had an "easy" road to the Final Four. You know what? You can only play the teams that are in front of you, and have no control over who wins in the other brackets (and anyone who thinks New Mexico State, Maryland, Northern Iowa, and Tennessee were pushovers is sadly mistaken). Plus, when one considers that Kalin Lucas has been out since just before halftime of the second round game, Delvon Roe has a knee that causes him constant pain, and Chris Allen is just now making progress from a foot injury, the Spartans road to the Final Four has not been the least bit easy.

Well, I can hear my house descending into chaos, so I better run. No matter what happens tonight, it's been another great year for Michigan State basketball.