Avian Flu Ravages The Pacific Northwest

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 11:38 am

….Otherwise known as “Seahawks Fever”.

Ever since that fateful day, January somethingth, when the Seattle Seahawks beat out the Carolina Panthers in the final round of—um, the Stanley Cup? Wimbledon? Whatever—this town has become insufferable. “Go Hawks” adorns the readerboards of every establishment….I swear to God, some businesses went out and bought wholly unnecessary readerboards just for the occasion. Last—Monday? Friday? Who cares?—was deemed “Seahawk Blue Day”, where everyone wearing blue was assumed to be showcasing their rabid football fanboy status. Sadly, I own no jeans in Pittsburgh Steelers colors….whatever those are…so my tacit support of our beloved Gladiators of the Gridiron was inferred by any who did not know me better. Even the State legislature has gotten in on the hoopla, relaxing their restrictions on informal work attire to allow for Seahawks caps, jerseys and jackets. Presumably stripping naked and painting your body blue and green is still not permitted.

Look, if you approach this whole professional sports thing as entertainment, then that’s just fine, no harm done. People spend unbelievable amounts of money on their own diversion, and I see no reason why football should be the exception to the rule. A good seat at Seahawks Stadium probably doesn’t cost conspicuously more than a good seat at, oh, say, Benaroya Hall or the 5th Avenue Theater, and tickets for a sold-out performance of a major Broadway production doubtless get jacked up, short-sold and scalped just like their professional athletic counterparts. So that’s fine, it’s all just people with abundant disposable income deciding how they want to torch a little of it.

It’s the panting fealty, the misplaced hero-worship that leaves me reeling. So many sports fans actually seem to invest some (or entirely too much) of their self-esteem in their teams, leading to strong words, boiled-over tempers and even brandished fists. Watching people engaging in heated invective (or wierder still, coming to blows) over their favorite football team is like watching people engaging in a smack-down in defense of their preferred touring company of Cats.

“But Uncle Andrew, this is the Home Team! They’re out there representing us, the folks of the Emerald City!” Uh huh. Face it, most of these players are itinerant nomads: they roam from place to place, stopping to graze until greener pastures beckon. Many of them aren’t from around here, and pert near all of them would abandon their homes and their fans in a heartbeat should someone offer them another million-five per year to switch allegiances (A-Rod, anyone?). They’re professionals; this is their job, and they can do it anywhere that will provide them with the proper facilities and support, along with the most competitive salary.

Want hometown pride and dedication? Go to your kid’s high school basketball game, your neighbor’s kids’ Little League championship. Join your local softball league, or volunteer to help drive a van to the state junior taekwon do finals.

Just yesterday afternoon I ran across a kid standing with his dad out in the cold and wet outside the grocery store. They were selling candy bars for his soccer camp. I wasn’t in the mood for a king-size Butterfinger bar, but I gave him ten bucks. The fact that we’ve got two brand-spanking-new stadiums (stadia?) in our town—one just for baseball, one just for football (that replaced the one we hadn’t even finished paying for yet)—while kids stand outside in the cold begging for money for soccer balls and shin guards tells me everything I need to know about this momentously momentous moment in Seahawk history.

[I can’t do it. I was going to end this post with the snide phrase, “Go, Steelers”, but I just can’t. It’s disingenuous. I don’t want the Steelers to win. I don’t want the Seahawks to lose. I don’t want people to be disappointed or angry or feel like they got ripped off. I want people to have fun, to enjoy the spectacle. I’d also like them to keep their revelry confined to their homes, their hotel rooms, their local sports bar, etc., and not force the rest of us to feel the aftereffects of their stupendous victory/humiliating defeat in the form of car wrecks, fist fights, blocked streets and busted shop windows. I’d love for them to treat things like public education, arts, poverty, homelessness and hunger with a little, just a little, more earnest attention than the antics of a herd of hypertrophied muscular juggernauts in blue spandex pants. But that’s not my decision to make.]

*Sigh* go, hawks.


Why, You Can Hardly Afford NOT To!

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 6:10 pm

Perhaps you heard about this: lending institutions are considering making 50-year mortgages available to prospective home buyers.

Let’s just quickly run through this, shall we? A hopeful homeowner-to-be wants to jump on the landed-gentry bandwagon, but can’t quite manage the payments. At 6.5% interest, a $100,000 house will require monthly payments of $632.07 over a period of 30 years, for a total payout of $227,545.20. By extending the mortgage to 50 years, that same house will require monthly payments of $563.72, for a grand total of $338,232.00.

So, in order to shave approximately 70 dollars off the monthly payment, this chump is going to add 20 years and over a hundred thousand dollars to the cost of the house?

Here’s a little tip you can take to your next meeting with your lender: if 75 bucks a month can make or break your home loan, you’re shopping for homes outside of your price range.

I find it exceptionally ironic that this move is being considered at the same time that a major mortgage lender, Ameriquest, is finalizing a settlement with 49 states regarding deceptive lending practices, practices that included using pressure tactics to convince people to sign up for mortgages beyond their means.

I’m reminded of how careless average Americans must be with their money every time I go to a store selling anything more expensive than a large pizza. Nearly every big-ticket item we have purchased in the last five years—from televisions to computers to hot tubs—we purchased via interest-free payments over a year or more. Only the purchases of my car and our house required the payment of any interest. This is, in a word, insane. Can you even fathom how many people must default on these no-interest deals, failing to pay off the loan before the expiration of the promotional period and the retroactive application of crushing interest rates, to make this sort of offer commercially feasible, let alone profitable? The numbers must be staggering. An appreciable segment of the US economy must be fueled by the choices of financially irresponsible and/or desperate people.

And while there might be room in a given person’s sound financial strategy for arranging for a 50-year mortgae (refinancing, anticipating a quick resale, etc.), these extra-long-term loans are marketed primarily in the “sub-prime” category; people with limited means or bad credit, who are the least likely to be in a position to affect any of these strategies.

Honestly, I don’t know who to be more annoyed with: lenders who viciously take advantage of stupid people, or people stupid enough to be taken in by such transparently ill-advised gambits.

Think I’ll play it safe and be annoyed with everybody.


Spousal Compatibility Test

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 12:28 pm

There are many, many methods by which to try to ascertain whether one is truly compatible with one’s spouse or significant other, but this one seems as good as any:

If, when attending a local City Planning Committee meeting, during the preceding Pledge of Allegiance, you and your spouse spontaneously omit the phrase, “under God”, it is probably safe to say that you were meant to be together. 😉


Frist Do No Harm

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 8:42 am

While listening to the coverage of the Supreme Court’s recent decision upholding the use by Oregon physicians of controlled substances to end the suffering of terminally ill patients, I was struck by a couple of questions.

1) Attorneys for the Bush Administration posited that the US government has the right to prosecute doctors for using these substances to end the lives of terminal patients (with their consent, having been judged by at least two physicians to have less than six months to live and also to be of sound mind) because the drugs in question are not being used for a “legitimate medical purpose”. If this is the case, how do they justify the use of similar substances in the process of ending the lives of prison inmates scheduled for execution?

Of course, said attorneys might well argue that such substances are not actually used to kill the condemned prisoner, merely to anesthetize him in preparation for the dispensation of the real fatal agents. Fair enough. But if that is the case, then:

2) Would the Bush Administration consider it within the confines for the law for a physician to use a narcotic to anesthetize a terminally ill patient in preparation for, say, smothering him with a pillow?


Say What?

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 12:53 pm

Sometimes I just have to wonder about the captains at the helm of our multinational media empires.

Playing right this very moment on ABC Family: Wife Swap.

Okay, we all know it’s not what it sounds like. But honestly, did you people have to give it that cheesy double-entendre “oomph” in order to draw people in? To the friggin’ family channel, no less?

“Tonight on ABC Family: Butt Plug! The heartwarming story of two adorable urchins’ struggle to help their father quit smoking!”



Neologism On Loan From God

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 5:57 pm

Here’s one I’m hoping will take off, so if you like it, tell your friends.

Dot-God: An online ministry, or the Web presence of any religious organization.

Personally, I’d love to see the ICANN adopt this as a TLD. Sadly, I don’t think the organizations who would qualify for this domain would have the necessary sense of whimsy to actually use it. 😉


“Sugar Fright Index”???

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 9:00 am

Someone from an ISP called SpectraNet is even now perusing my site for information regarding “Sugar Fright Index”. Gweh? Judging from the results of their MSN search, I don’t think they’re going to find whatever it is they’re looking for, here or anywhere else. Sorry for the dead end, whoever you are. Come back and visit us again sometime!



Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 11:49 am

In case you missed it, FUH2.com has produced a poster of their favorite viewer submissions. Buy one today! I bought three. 😉


Irony Supplement, Part 8

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 4:31 pm
Irony Supplement, Part 8

This edition of Irony Supplement is a bit subtler than most, and would probably be indecipherable to anyone who hasn’t been in face-to-face contact with me over the last few months.

The irony of this photo is that, after three-plus months and almost thirty pounds of hardcore dieting, I can finally fit into my Krispy Kreme T-shirt.

I was totally stunned while poring over the selection at my friendly neighborhood donutorium at the relatively, um, “narrow” bandwidth of shirt sizes available for purchase. Why would an establishment dedicated to the distribution of sucrose-and-emulsified-fat-pods limit the size of their shirts to extra extra large? Don’t they realize that a good portion of their clientele start at double-X and work their way up? (Not coincidentally, with a little help from their very own yummy oleaginous comestibles?)

On the other hand, perhaps there is a method to Krispy Kreme’s madness. They may have decided—not without merit—that a three-hundred-fifty-pound guy in a 5XL KK shirt doesn’t convey quite the corporate message they’re looking for.


Recently Sighted

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 11:29 am
Hee hee!

This was forwarded to me by my father-in-law, who got it from a friend of his in Oregon. Snapped in some commercial establishment. I don’t think further elaboration is necessary. 😀


DUI To Me One More Time

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 5:00 pm

I was listening to KUOW (our local NPR station) this morning when I heard a local report regarding reaction to the goverment’s recent implementation of immigration laws. Specifically, the current rannygazoo has to do with the fact that the INS and immigration courts are “removing” (the new term for deporting) immigrants who generate as few as a single felony DUI, based primarily on provisions in immigration law that allow for deportation of non-citizens who do not reflect the proper “character” to qualify for continued residency in the United States.

I’m sure I’m not privy to a lot of the intricacies of this particular discussion, but still I feel like I’m missing the point. Why exactly should I care if immigrants who are caught driving drunk get deported? Why, in fact, should I do anything but celebrate the situation? Are these people alleging that they have been fraudulently charged? If so, it wasn’t mentioned in the report. (And bear in mind that this was NPR, not Faux News. If there was credible and widespread evidence of goverment officials abusing this procedure, you think they’d have mentioned it.) Are they angry because they only get one chance to fuck up and endanger themselves and others before getting the boot? If so, well, excrement occurs, don’t it?

Apparently some folks in this predicament have protested that such an act would cause them undue hardship. Among other things, they cite the fact that they have families in the States, and that forcing them to decide between splitting up the family and moving back to the Old Country is unfair.

How about splitting up the family of an innocent bystander who gets plowed under by a drunk driver? What about the hardship of knowing your Mom or Dad lost their lives and killed someone else to boot, just because they couldn’t bear not to have another beer or three or six before getting behind the wheel?

If it would mollify those affected by this law, I’d happily include an amendment to the resolution mandating that native-born American citizens be expatriated for felony DUI as well.

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