Archive for December, 2015

Dickhead City

groceries_custom-80dfd344761fbd31d923a1d02ce81e3c6632c343-s6-c30Just got back from my local Safeway where I stocked up for all the delicious football that will be played in the next couple of days.  While there I encountered a number of Feared Winter Visitors, all of the male persuasion.

In the parking lot I noticed several cars that were running;  men sat inside them listening to the radio. I deduced that they were waiting for wives to buy groceries. Why do women put up with that shit?

I got my groceries and made it to the check-out line before being attacked by a FWV. The guy behind me kept crowding and bumping me with his cart–as if I could speed things up somehow. I gave him a dirty look but I guess it wasn’t severe enough to make him rethink.

When it was my turn to be checked out I struck up a conversation with my favorite checker, who last I saw her had entered the store’s “ugliest Christmas sweater” contest. This morning I learned she won with her clever use of flashing lights and small gifts pinned to her sleeves.

Bump! I guess conversation isn’t permitted in the check-out line when a FWV is in a hurry. I threw him another, dirtier, look.

I moved forward a bit so bumper guy could reach the cash register, but I waited for the bagger to finish packing up my stuff. Now all us locals know that this kid is a bit slow, and we’re all patient with him because he becomes upset if people hurry him. From behind me bumper guy sez “can you move forward?” No “please,” notice.  I turned to him and said in my nicest voice and with a big smile “In a minute. Or two.”

The checker grinned so wide I though she might laugh out loud–but she contained herself.  As I left the store my mother’s voice tried to make me ashamed of my bad behavior–but it didn’t succeed.

Driving home I was still steaming as some peckerwood driving a huge pickup passed me on the right before he lost the right lane that disappears at that point. He passed way too close, cutting me off, and we missed colliding only because I KNEW he would do that when I saw his big black rig in my rear-view mirror and slowed down.

At the corner he turned into a local gas station (why the hurry, then?). I consoled myself with the thought that my lowly Prius seldom turns into a gas station. Nor does it ever sit, running, in a parking lot.
























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An announcer used the phrase “blistering cold” to describe weather this morning.  Is this an oxymoron, strictly speaking?

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Just Like Old Times



Inspired by the volleyball team . . .

No, I can’t get away with that. Even though there are close connections between Nebraska’s football and volleyball players. On the night the women won the National Championship, for example, they received congratulatory tweets from Ameer Abdullah and Kenny Bell, who are now in the NFL.

No matter the source of inspiration, last night the Cornhusker football team beat UCLA in one of those low-rent bowl games that only participants care about. And during the second half I wasn’t sure that even UCLA gave a damn. But Nebraska sure needed that win.

The Husker coaches took a page (FINALLY) out of Nebraska football history, and ran the ball, and ran, and ran, and ran. Getting into the spirit of things, the announcers, who were clearly from/for California, evoked the spirit of Tom Rathman, which was a compliment of the highest order–in California as well as in Nebraska (right, Desert?) They also mentioned Roger Craig, I. M. Hipp, and Mike Rozier in their memory-lane tour of Nebraska football history.

Well, those guys played for the Huskers in better days. For now, Nebraska fans are quite happy with a 37-29 victory and a hell of a game that was fun to watch into the bargain.



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A Force-full Holiday


forceawakens4-xlargeThe Deserts and I celebrated Christmas by seeing the new Star Wars film and sharing a great dinner afterward. This movie was not our first choice, but those we actually wanted to see–Trumbo, Spotlight–were not available at multiplexes near our corner of the universe.

So off we went to the Galactic Empire. We were not disappointed; the film is as good as most critics say it is. The scenery is awesome;  the music is orchestral; the characters–old and new–are as well developed as the plot demands.

The theater was packed, mostly with olds and children (we went to an early afternoon showing). Apparently the franchise still has fans, like me, who saw the original in 1977, old folks who could be drawn out of our comfortable living rooms on a chilly Christmas day by a much-ballyhooed sequel.

I hope I’m not spoiling when I notice that the plot of Force Awakens is in many respects similar to that of the first (now fourth) entry in the series, The New Hope. There’s a crowded bar featuring members of exotic species; cute robots; fast aircraft shot in a style reminiscent of ‘fifties war movies; and a galactic-level clash between good guys and bad guys. Among the former are Han and Chewy, whose appearance on screen was greeted with applause.

The similarities in plot were no doubt intentional in order to gratify long-time fans. Or they may have had something to do with the mythical nature of the main narrative–a hero (finally–a woman!) on a journey finds out who her father is, etc. My having recently watched the original films was helpful in bringing me up to speed–I was reminded, for example, that Luke and Leia are siblings, and that Darth Vader is their father.

After the movie was over and everyone visited the restroom, we made our way over to my house, where we indulged in some delicious lasagna from Omaha Steaks and a home-made waldorf salad.  All in all, a great way to spend a Christmas holiday.







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This And That


Trump is P. T. Barnum reincarnated, although he sinks to depths that Barnum was wily enough to avoid. Yesterday, he spewed vulgarities like monkeys throw feces. He actually trotted out an old sexist canard against Mrs. Clinton:  women take forever in the john. Which may have been true back in the day when petticoats/skirts were many and long.

Hell, Clinton was probably on the phone with the King of Jordan or somebody.

I’m SO tired of Trump and the Rethugs. So on to other, cooler, things.

Two members of Nebraska’s National Championship volleyball team (can’t say that too often) were scheduled to graduate on Saturday. But, as the Athletic Director pointed out at a celebration on Sunday, they were too busy that day to attend. So he called on the university prex and the chancellor, who handed the players their diplomas in person. Classy.

The graduates took their degrees in biochemistry and political science. I don’t know how they did it while practicing on the side to become part of the best volleyball team in the nation. But they did and congratulations are in order.

I’m re-watching the Star Wars saga in the story’s internal chronological order, in case I manage to see the new installment before I die. Which means I began with The Phantom Menace. This film isn’t as bad as it has been made out to be. Yes, the character of Jar Jar is horrific–was there no one at the studio astute enough to point out the racist implications of the dotty minion? Was everyone white and under fifty–that is, too young to remember this horrible stereotype from movies made in the first half of the twentieth-century?

And the kid is irritating, and the implied attraction between him and the teen-aged queen is repellent.

Yeah I know–“other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you like the play?”  Well, I liked the effects–all those kinky robots flitting everywhere all the time. I liked Liam Neeson’s character–nice to recall, now that he’s done all those badass abduction movies, that he could once play warm and fatherly. Ethan Hawke obviously studied Alec Guinness in the original film, and had his Obi-Wan down cold. Darth Maul and his two-bladed weapon were awesome. On this watch I used the subtitles so I could understand what Jar Jar was saying, and they helped me grasp right off that the nice senator from Naboo would eventually become the hated emperor.

TPM is an entertainment. When it’s watched in that light, not expected to carry the weight of worlds, it’s fun. Sometimes I think that fans hate the entire prequel series just because Harrison Ford isn’t in it.

I’m also playing Fallout 4. For those of you not keeping track, this is the fifth entry in the Fallout series (sixth if you count a strategy spinoff, Tactics). The gameplay is just about the same as in New Vegas and FO3 or in Skyrim for that matter, which is nice for us oldtimers. The graphics are more colorful than those of FO3, but the cityscapes (Boston this time) are just as damaged and hence are as sad to trek through. It’s an awful moment to be prowling through a ruined building looking for chems or weapons and to realize, suddenly, that you are standing in Faneuil Hall.












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NATL+CHAMPSNebraska’s women sweep Texas in three sets, and they are NCAA national champions!

Is this a crowd or what?

5676083c5145c.imageSeventeen thousand five hundred people came to watch Nebraska and Texas play tonight.

Would it be wrong to construe tonight’s victory as payback for the 2010 Big Twelve football championship game?



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Tonight’s The Night



Nebraska plays Kansas in the NCAA volleyball semi-finals tonight. If you want to watch, the match will be televised at 7:30 MST on ESPN.

Tom Shatel, who writes for the Omaha paper, has a nice piece about the history of Nebraska volleyball that can be found here:  ww.omaha.com/huskers/shatel-volleyball-has-become-nebraska-s-legacy-passed-on-from/article_9d2ae1b4-970b-5d3f-b2d1-ac9c5bd4d871.html. Shatel’s article features the amazing Kadie Rolfzen, who was named an All-American earlier this week. That’s Kadie in the photo, jumping higher than any human being ought to as she goes up for a kill.

Nebraska’s opponent, the Kansas Jayhawks, has two All-American players, and there are also All-Americans on the two teams who play earlier (Minnesota and Texas). So there will be some great athletic talent on the floor tonight, and I’m sure fun will be had by all.

Especially if Nebraska wins.

UPDATE:  Nebraska won in four sets!  Kansas put up a good and exciting game–I held my breath more often than was good for me. Unfortunately, Texas beat Minnesota, so the final match on Saturday night will be between Nebraska and Texas.




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