Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Today's Workouts

8 miles running at noon.

I Wish I Was an Oscar Meyer Weiner

Well maybe not so much now. At least not in Philly. They don't like them there. They blow-up weiners there. Probably the cheesesteaks did it, outta jealousy.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - After a bomb scare at the Philadelphia Phillies' ballpark, authorities pointed the finger at a fuzzy green suspect - The Phillie Phanatic.
Hours before the Phillies-Atlanta Braves' game on Wednesday night, a film crew shot a commercial of the mascot shooting heavily wrapped hot dogs from a launcher.
But someone inadvertently left three of the duct taped hot dogs outside the ballpark, sparking security fears. Stadium employees were evacuated and the bomb squad was called in.
Only after the packages were blown up did authorities realize they'd just exploded some sausages.

Have we become such a nation of weenies (pun intended) that a few duct taped hot dogs brings out the bomb squad? Do we see terrorists behind every tree, bun and frankfurter now? How many times are we going to cry wolf before people finally chill?

And I know what people are going to say, 'better safe than sorry'. You know who says that? Pansies! That's who!

How long is this going to go on? Until we are totally paranoid police state? Well we are getting there. It would be funny to see us become like our former enemy, the Soviet Union. Not funny ha-ha, funny uh-oh.

We are all ready treated like prisoners in our own airports by the brainless thugs who work for the TSA. Stand in line here, papers please, now go here, now take off your shoes and belts, what's this nail clippers? Now go over there, get striped-searched and get felt-up, complain and get tasered or worse. When did we become a nation of eunuchs? Are we related to the same people that founded this country? Fought the British (twice)? Pushed the Indians out of the way (to put it mildly)? Tamed the wilderness?

Just you watch today it's blowing-up our weiners - tomorrow they will be closing down the newspapers, eliminating free-speech, imprisoning people without cause, pulling the tags of their mattresses, going through the express line with more than 10 items, stealing our milk money. Oh wait they are already doing that with their bailout plan. What's that? It failed? There is a God. Don't worry you bailout junkies, the Feds will be back with one hand held out and the other holding a gun.

Anyway people, leave the defenseless hot dogs alone. What did they ever do to you? I mean other than all the health problems they cause.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Mary's B-Day

Our sweet Mary is 5 today. She is probably our child with the sweetest disposition. She is the sunshine to my grayness. Sure she could end up being an axe murderer, but for now we are just enjoying her sunny outlook.

Happy Birthday Sweetie! We Love You!!!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Move Over Chubby Hubby

it's time for our newest flavors from Ben and Jerry's, Lactating Lady, Boobie Bonanza and Milky Momma.

PETA asks Ben & Jerry's to use breast milk

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — Ice cream made from breast milk? That's what the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals wants Ben & Jerry's Homemade Ice Cream to consider making.

The Virginia-based nonprofit group sent a letter to company co-founders Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield on Tuesday asking them to use human breast milk instead of cow's milk in their products.

PETA said the health of consumers and cows would benefit from the switch.

Ben & Jerry's spokesman Rob Michalak said the company applauds PETA's creative approach to bring attention to an issue, but believes that a mother's milk is best used by a child.

Now I would normally ignore anything coming from PETA but this was just too good to pass up. I realize that PETA knows it's not realistic for Ben and Jerry's to switch from cow's milk to human breast milk and that they are just tyring to make a point. Even they have to realize that it would take a few million Pamela Anderson's to replace all the cow's milk that they use in ice cream.

Starbucks Offers Free Coffee for Homeschool Parents

Since I like to rag on Starbucks I thought in fairness I should let people know when they do something nice.
This is from an HSLDA e-mail that someone forwarded me.

This coming Monday, September 29, homeschool parents will be able to pick up a complimentary tall size (12 fl. oz.) cup of Pike Place Roast from Starbucks.

This promotion is part of Starbucks “Great Start for Great Teachers” promotion, and is now open to all teachers.

HSLDA intervened when we were alerted that homeschool parents were not included in the promotion.

We are pleased that Starbucks is recognizing the contribution of homeschool parents by extending their program to us.

In order to pick up your free cup of Pike Place Roast you will need to present evidence that you are a homeschooler.

Any one item on the following list should be accepted by Starbucks:

Home School Legal Defense Association membership card.
Membership card from a state homeschooling organization.
Notification from a school district or state government recognizing compliance with compulsory attendance.
Paperwork submitted showing intent to establish a homeschool program.
Paperwork showing the establishment of a private school.
If you don’t have one of the items on this list be creative and try to provide other proof of homeschooling.

Please note: the final decision about whether to accept proof of homeschooling resides with Starbucks

Friday, September 26, 2008

More on the Proposed Bailout of the Moochers and Looters

The best line of the bailout debate goes to Congressman Ron Kind who said that phone calls to his office were "running 50-50. 50% 'No' and 50% 'Hell No'.

Today's Workouts

14 miles on my lunch 'hour'. For a 2-day total of 42 miles. Legs are sore but the rest of me is good.

Stuff Catholics Like

The Rosary is Old School

Real Catholics say The Divine Mercy (DM) also. Most Catholics learned the rosary at one time or another. Either as a child from their parents or CCD teachers or as adults in a RCIA or catechism class. But a lot of Catholics haven’t even heard of the Divine Mercy, let alone know how to say it. It is definitely for the hard-core Catholic. To relate it to music, everyone has heard of The Beatles and The Rolling Stones but only the cool kids have heard of Vampire Weekend. The Divine Mercy is the Vampire Weekend of the Catholic prayer world.

Don’t believe me? Take a poll. First go to a Mall and ask teens and young adults if they have heard of Vampire Weekend. The kids with the torn jeans and retro Iggy and the Stooges t-shirts will say yes. And then go ask the kids with the high-waters wearing Garanimals who look like they eat their boogers when no one is looking, they will answer no.

The Divine Mercy is along the same lines. All the hip (young or old) Catholics are saying the DM. Since the DM is also said on rosary beads it’s hard to tell what prayers some one is saying. And it would be kinda tacky to take a poll of people sitting in church praying – not that that would stop me. but one way to tell is this; if the person is wearing a t-shirt like the ones below, then they are probably praying the DM and not the rosary, or they may be saying both with a set of beads in each hand (the showoffs).

The prayers of the Divine Mercy are shorter than the rosary. So if you saw the person's hands flying over the beads than they are probably saying the DM not the rosary. Although I do know some people who can knock out a rosary in 10 minutes or less (he types while blushing).

You get bonus points (or indulgences) for saying the Divine Mercy at 3 in the afternoon (the hour that Christ died).

This is not to say that the Rosary is passé or lame. I mean it's not the Vanilla Ice or Milli Vanilli of the prayer world. No it’s still the Mother of All Catholic Prayers.

For those of you not familiar with the Divine Mercy see here for more information

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Today's Workouts

28 miles running this morning. Felt pretty good for the first 25 miles or so. Last 3 were a bit of a struggle. Sore cheeks, hamstrings and calves by the end.

Brother Can You Spare a Dime?

Make that around $100 with inflation

Timing is everything. A few weeks ago the Feds decide Lehman Brothers could go ahead and fail. Then Merrill Lynch gets bought out by Bank of America. Then AGI almost goes under a few days later and the Feds save it. And then they decide a few days later to spend trillions of dollars (you don’t really think it’s ‘only’ going to cost the taxpayers $700 billion, do you?) to ‘save’ every financial company.

The 24,000 that lost their jobs at Lehman Brothers have to be thinking “what about us?”. If the company had only hung on for one more week they would have been covered by Uncle Sugar’s proposed bailout plan (still not passed at this writing - so there is hope that we won’t get screwed over and have our tax dollars wasted again).

Who did Lehman tick off in DC? Did they not payoff, I mean make campaign contributions, to the right senators and congressmen? Did their lobbyists wine, dine and bribe the wrong folks inside the beltway? Did they go to the salad bar illegally? Wear stripes with plaids? Try and cross breed dogs and cats?

Whatever went wrong you got to feel bad for the regular employee’s who worked there and their families. This is not the time to be an unemployed financial sector worker, especially in NY. Besides Lehman dropping 24k workers on the job market, all the other big companies have been shedding employees faster than Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan shed clothes.

Let's assume for a minute that it really will only cost $700 billion to bail out these companies...sorry I'm back...I was laughing so hard while typing that...I wet myself and had to change my jeans...

Just how much money is $700,000,000,000? I don’t know about you but once you get to a million I have a hard time getting a handle on how much a billion is, let alone 700 billion.

$700 billion is about what the U.S. has spent on the Iraq war so far.
$700 billion is more than the total annual budget of the Pentagon.
$700 billion is a stack of $100 bills 475 miles high.
$700 billion is enough money to buy 8,235,294,117 pairs of my running shoes.
$700 billion is $100 for every person on earth.
$700 billion represents $2,300 for every man, woman and child in the United States. guess I should just mail the Feds a check for $29,900 right away.

Does bailing out companies make the remaining companies more responsible? (that would be a rhetorical question) or like our children, does always bailing them out make have a devil-may-care attitude and not worry about the consequences of their actions?

And what about us regular Joe's, do we pay attention to the health of the banks where we keep our money? Or do we not even worry about it because the accounts are FDIC insured?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Today's Workouts

10 mile run yesterday morning and 5.5 miles at lunch time today. Both runs featured fantastic weather.

No Shirt, No Shoes, No Credit Card, No Service

I’m not going to name names, but someone who I live with and who I’m related to by marriage, lost their credit card last week. Unfortunately said person’s card and mine have the same number so I had to call and cancel them and have new ones issued. That’s a 6-10 day process. Why? I don’t know. Maybe there is a plastic shortage, maybe they make them by hand, or maybe they are coming from China like everything else that’s sold in this country.

Whatever the case may be, it’s day 4 and the new cards still haven’t come yet. I was kinda hoping the 6-10 estimate was an extreme case scenario. The kind they give so people aren’t calling every few days to asking where in the heck their cards are.

So what’s the big deal? Why am I writing about this? Well I’m just surprised at how dependant we have become on credit cards. We used that card for everything. Anything that could be charged was put on that card. (don’t worry I pay it off each month – no finance charges for me).

We do this for a few reasons. One is convenience. It’s just easier than carrying around cash or a checkbook (yeah we have a check card but see reason two). Two, I like the idea of using someone else’s money for free for a month. And three, it was a Shell MC. We got rebates on gasoline purchases. Usually around $50 a month. Not a huge dent in the $400-$500 we spend every month on gas but better than a kick to the head by a Donk.

So not having a card for a few days is a lot more annoying than I thought it would be. We don’t keep much money in our checking account. So now I have to figure out a way to pay for a week’s worth of expenses without using credit. No it’s not the end of the world but when you are used to pulling up to the gas pump and using the card to put $100 worth of gas in the van and no longer can, you have to come up with a new plan. Used to buying things online like we are? Opps. Fortunately I had some cash on hand that I keep for emergencies and we did have some money in the checking account. So between the cash and the check card it’s working out.

Plus we had to connect various companies that charge our card automatically every month and tell them to stop using that card. And then we will have to call them back with the new card info when it shows up. Plus all the account information at the online stores we use (most running shoe stores) is going to have to be updated with the new card info too.

This experience makes me wonder if that’s what happened to Lehman Brothers. Did they lose their credit card for a week and couldn’t pay their bills for the week? No money to pay for salaries, office supplies, $10 million bonuses, or even worse Coffee!

I’m still having trouble deciding which card to give to Sam and which one I should keep…

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Truth in Advertising

I love a retailer with a sense of humor. Very biblical.

This picture is from a gas station in Nashville where they had gas 'shortages' for a few days due to worry about hurricane Ike. What they really had was people panicking and rushing out to fill up their cars (got to love lemmings), and gas stations running out for a few days. Of course the Feds didn't help matters by having Bush come on TV and threaten to bring the hammer down on stations that raised prices. Have these morons never heard of supply and demand? Raising prices would have cooled sales down and there would have been enough gas.

Of course the poor guy that owns the gas station in the picture above is probably in Guantanamo right now.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Prayer Request

For a woman (duh, if it was a man that would be really interesting - not that a man could handle it) in labor. See one of my wife's other blog's for details.

Today's Workouts

Workouts for the last 3 days:

Saturday - 4.2 mile run with Joey riding his bike along and keeping me company.

Sunday - 5.2 mile run with Joey riding his bike along and keeping me company.

Monday - 5.5 mile run at lunch time.

Oh Hunny, I Got a New Diet for You!

Lose weight with a naked lunch

How it works: Most of us would be repulsed by the sight of ourselves stuffing food into a body where love handles are on show. Taking your clothes off before you eat, to make you feel self-conscious about every fattening mouthful, is one option.

But if that doesn't work, curb your cravings by eating naked in front of a full-length mirror. This is only recommended when dining solo - and definitely not in restaurants.

Not that you need to lose weight. But you have said recently that you are trying to. I do realize that since we have kids this would mean that you would have to take your meals in the bedroom. But I'm willing to sacrifice and come in there with you so you don't have to eat alone. I'll even do the cooking. Deal?

One suggestion...no hot soup or drinks...ouch...

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Pack the Bags Hunny, We are Heading to Wisconsin This Morning

Win five times your wife's weight in beer.

The second annual wife-carrying championships are Saturday.

Runners-up win her weight in cranberries, bratwurst, mustard or cow manure.

All you have to do is carry your wife through a 300-yard obstacle course that includes grass, sand, waste-deep water, hurdles and hills.

With all that running I've been doing and your recent weight-loss, I think we have a good chance to win this thing. I know you don't drink beer sweetie, but we could sell it and you could go on that Victoria Secrets shopping spree you have been always dreaming of. I know, I know it sounds to good to be true. But soon that Daisy Duke outfit you have been wanting could be yours.

After we win the race I want you to shove as many rocks in your pockets as possible. The more you weigh at the end - the more beer we get.

Man I hope we get first place and the beer. Al tough the cranberries and bratwurst sound great too. I'm not so sure about the mustard - 100 pounds is quite a bit. I guess we could eat mustard sandwiches for the next few years. And as far as the manure goes, with the 11 kids, that's about our daily production anyway.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Today's Workouts

13 mile run on my lunch 'hour' :) A tad rough after yesterdays long run

Stuff Catholics Like

Holy Cards

For those not in the know, Holy Cards are similar to baseball cards. But instead of Babe Ruth on the front you have someone like Saint Francis. And instead of the amount of home runs or RBI’s on the back of the cards, holy cards have stats like: patron saint of what, # of miracles performed, how long it took the lions to finish him off, or if their eyes were gouged out. And people think being a professional ball player is tough.

My younger kids all have 3-ring binders with pages and pages of holy cards in them. They collect them and trade them just like baseball cards. Not all the cards are of saints. They also have a bunch of remembrance cards from funerals we have gone to. I guess some of those people could become saints someday. That would be like having someone’s Rookie Card then. Man I wish we had Jesus’ Rookie Card, that one would be worth a mint.

We do draw the line at sticking holy cards with St Joseph or the Blessed Mother on it in the spokes of the kids’ bicycle wheels.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

In the Kids do the Darndest Things Department.

Se my hotter half's post about Mary

Today's Workouts

27 mile run this morning in fantastic weather. That is the furthest I have run to date.

Wednesday was 5.5 miles.

Tuesday was 10.2 miles.

I Hate the Color Lime

Isn’t that what color green and pink make? I think it is. I was never good at figuring that out in grade school. I was too busy eating paste or sticking erasers up my nose or trying not to get beat up during recess.

Any who, I now hate both of those colors. I cringe every time I see them on TV or in a magazine add Those colors now make me see red. It didn’t use to be so. I used to like pink and green. Heck I have a few pink shirts in the closet (I’ve got 11 kids so back off). Now I don’t know if I can ever wear them again. And every spring I have green grass for a few weeks before the kids destroy the yard.

Let me explain.

It’s this whole ‘let’s jump on the Green (environmental) and Pink (cancer) bandwagons’ that’s drive me nuts. Disclaimer: it’s not that I want people to get cancer or the earth to get trashed. Everyone wants a cure for cancer. We all have family and friends that have died from cancer.

Pink is everywhere. Pink football jerseys, major league baseball players using pink bats, Obama pledging to paint the White House pink if he wins, pink ribbons, pink t-shirts, pink Dell laptops, pink IPod and cell phone holders, there is even a whole line of pink running gear.

And the purchase of these Pink products helps cancer research, supposedly. How much of the actual purchase price actually goes to cancer research and what groups are getting the money? Are those groups doing legitimate research? Or are their research procedures and groups they grant money to, doing things contrary to Catholic Moral teachings? Like the Susan G Komen group (donors to Planned Parenthood and supports embryonic stem-cell research).

The final straw was an ad for Oakley sunglasses in my latest running magazine. Pink Oakley’s with a portion of the proceeds going to cancer research. Another “look at how great and caring our company is” advertisement.

The companies that are suddenly ‘Green’ are driving me crazy too. Maybe it’s good business but it just strikes me as self-serving and insincere. Is anyone falling for it? I’ll take some dirty unshaven hippy tree huggers over these corporate phonies any day. I expect it from hairy-legged, granola eating women in a VW bus. But not from Wal-Mart, Bank of America and IBM and every other company that is slapping green all over themselves and shouting it as loud as they can.

These companies put in a few solar panels and some Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs and say look at how great we are. Ok maybe every little bit helps, and saving energy and money is a good thing. But this ‘look at how great we are attitude’ is nauseating. “Don’t let the left-hand now what the right-hand is doing”.

Man I should have bought stock in Green and Pink paint companies. I bet they are doing better than Lehman Brothers, AIG and Fannie Mae stock.

Well if you can’t beat them join them. I’m going to change the background of this blog to Pink and for every hit this site gets I’m going to donate a penny to the makers of the “Save the TaTa’s” bumper stickers. And in order to be Green I promise to never whack a baby seal in the head with a baseball bat unless the seal attacks first or tries to steal my running shoes. And I will never again eat Spotted Owl…they taste like chicken anyway…

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

So When Does He Get His Lightsaber?

Josh finished up his two week spiritual exercises at the seminary this past Sunday. All the young men entering the novitiate were then presented their Jedi Robes, I mean cassocks. He has now officially entered seminary life and is known as Brother Joshua. The novitiate is a 2 year discernment process, heavy on the prayer and light on the study.

Hopefully he won't turn get his legs cutoff, roasted like a hot dog over a campfire and turn to the dark side.

I still think they should give him a Lightsaber too. They can come in very handy for Catholics.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Well This Explains a Lot

Bed sharing 'drains men's brains'

“Sharing a bed with someone could temporarily reduce your brain power - at least if you are a man - Austrian scientists suggest.
According to the New Scientist study, women who share a bed fare better because they sleep more deeply.”

I always said these kids of mine were making me stupid. Now I have proof. I guess Sam and I should have separate beds like Ricky and Lucy. I'm just happy that I now have a great excuse for being a big dummy.

I guess we can deduce a lot about the personal lives of smart males now also. I will now look with pity on my smart friends. Sure they might be smarter and have better jobs because of it but the trade-off hardly seems worth it.

The next time I do something stupid. Like nail my hand to roof or drive my car off without taking out the gas pump, and one of my smart friends gives me a hard time. I can just shake my head knowingly and lament his poor home life. While he is playing online chess with Swen from Norway at night I'll be cuddled up with Hunny.

So if the choice is between having my sweetie with me in bed and being a moron or sleeping alone and being smart…well all I have to say about that choice is, Duh!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Today's Workouts

5.3 mile run at lunch time. Sore right achilles.

Oscar the Grouch Would Like the Idea

Last Thursday I was walking with Robert (8) and some of the younger kids around our neighborhood. We were helping Robert with his paper route. It was also trash day and Robert and I were admiring some new trashcans that a neighbor had and comparing them to our old lousy ones.

A little bit later…

Robert “Dad, if we get new trashcans, we should wash out all our old ones with soap, then put a blanket in them and give them to homeless people”.

Me “I don’t know if the homeless people would appreciate that”.

Robert “Well it’s better than nothing which is what they’ve got now”

Ok then

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Silly Sunday

In Honor of all the hurricanes we've been having.

Singing in the Rain

Make them Laugh

Moses Supposes

Good Morning

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Today's Workouts

7 hot miles this afternoon. Lizzie came along on her bike.

And a special shout-out to Joey (10) who won his first ever soccer game. His St Pius CYO team won today 6-5.

Hopefully the 3rd Time is the Charm...

...or I Hate Cars.

Alex's (18) car is almost as old as she is. It's a '92 Sunbird (a happening chick-magnet of a car if there ever was one). Not a lot of miles on it because it was owned for most of it's life by a little old lady (seriously). But it's a shining (rusting actually) example of why the Big Three Auto Makers seem to be self-imploding. It's a small car that can in no way compete with the small cars from Toyota and Honda. But it was inexpensive and we just needed it to get her through 4 years of college. 2 down and 2 to go. But...

2 weeks ago when we were loading up the Suburban to haul her stuff to college, one of the tires went flat. Not too big of a deal. I changed it and put on the borderline-useless donut-sized spare. Since it was the weekend we left the car at home and I would get it fixed during the week. The tire was pretty old so instead of having it repaired I had it replaced and we dropped the car of for Alex later that week.

Then the next weekend the red lemon (strange color for a lemon) started overheating and leaking coolant. It was too bad to drive down to our town and to our mechanic. So Alex took it a local gas station. They were very helpful and honest. It was only a gasket and thermostat plus some coolant and labor. Less than 60 bucks.

Two days after that the car would not start, the battery was deader than my love for The Donk. Again nothing major but it was the third issue in 10 days. At this rate we were looking at close to 100 repairs per year. This one I decided to just fix myself. I drove up there last Thursday at lunch time with a few of the little kids and I pulled the battery, got a new one at the auto-parts store and dropped in the new one. While I did this the little kids got to go see Alex's dorm room and see some of the campus.

They say things come in 3's so I'm assuming that this is it for awhile. Of course you know what happens when one assumes...

Don't buy one of these

Friday, September 12, 2008

Today's Workouts

13 bloody miles at lunch time.

Stuff Catholics Like

Burying Saint Joseph

Hey my name is St Joe
got a house you need to go

Plant me in the ground down deep
and your house you wont have to keep

(set to a hip-hop beat)

Ok here's the deal for those of you Catholics who don't know about this practice. You non-Catholics might never get this one. Actually I'm not sure I get this one either but it's one of those things, like hair-shirts, the inquisition and indulgences, that makes being a Catholic cool.

When you want to sell your house you take a statue of St Joseph and bury it in your backyard, upside-down and facing the direction you want to move. Once you sell the house you are supposed to dig up good St Joe and take the statue with you to your new house and place it on the mantel or some other place of honor.

Here is a brief overview of where this custom came from:

The custom hearkens back at least to the great St. Teresa of Avila (A.D. 1515 - 1582), foundress of the Disalced Carmelite Order. As her Order spread, a new convent had to be built, and in order for a new convent to be built, land must be had. When the nuns found a particular piece of land that was perfect for their purposes, they also found that their coffers weren't full enough to purchase it, so they decided to ask the intercession of St. Joseph, burying medals imprinted with his likeness in the ground of the desired property as a sign of their prayers. It worked.

It also worked for Blessed Brother André Bessette, who was able to get the land on which he built the Shrine of St. Joseph of Mount Royal, in Montreal, Canada by praying to St. Joseph and burying a St. Joseph medal on the grounds of the future site as a sign of his prayers.

Now, both of these events deal with acquiring land, not selling it, and they deal with St. Joseph medals, not St. Joseph statues. Nonetheless, over time, the folk custom came to be for sellers of homes to bury a statue of St. Joseph as a sign of prayer asking to find a buyer and hasten the sale.

I wonder just how many plastic (the spotted-owl kissers aren't going to like that) statues are buried in backyards all over the country?

Sam and I owned a Catholic Bookstore from 1990-2000. We sold 100's of St Joseph statues, especially during the housing slow-downs. At first it bothered me when I found out what people were doing with them - particularly when it was people without faith being all superstitious like - but it was either let people buy them for that purpose or not sell any St Josephs at all. Which hardly seemed fair to others with legitimate devotions.

So I did what any good American Capitalist would do, I found a supplier of cheap small St. Joseph statues (made in China and painted with lead-based paint of course) and marked them up real good. Of course if I knew the person and they wanted the statue for, how should we say, more purposes they got a more normal mark-up.

My favorite were the old Jewish Lady Real Estate agents who came in looking for a St Joe statue to help them sell houses. They would buy them by the case.

A close second were the people who didn't know exactly which saint it was they were supposed to drop in the ground like so many tulip bulbs. Someone would come up to the counter with a St Jude or St Anthony statue in their hands, all excited because their house was finally going to sell. Me? I just kept my mouth shut and ringed-up the sale, Cha-Ching! Hey it's not my fault if they don't know which saint to ensconce (ensconce is my word of the day - it's fun to have a word) in the dirt.

So would that be a sin of omission on my part or just damn funny? 8 years later I'm still not sure but I'm going with the latter.

A priest friend of mine is pretty sure that if I'm lucky enough to squeak into heaven (obviously after a long stint in purgatory) that I'll be greeted by good Saint Joseph and he'll peg me with a well deserved dirt-clod. Fair enough.

This is not to suggest in the least that St Joseph isn't a powerful intercessor, he is. But maybe having a statue IN the house, and a candle in front of it and trying a novena might just be a better way to go about it.

Try this one or this one.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Today's Workouts

25 mile run this morning. First 7 miles I was stiff and a little sore. Miles 8-23 I felt real good, kinda effortless. Last 2 miles were a bit of a struggle but not horrible. I wish all runs were like this one.

Oh and guess what the UPS guy brought me yesterday? Here's a hint.

I go through running shoes like some people go through toilet paper.

Back in the Saddle Again

So is he sick of hanging around the Olson twin (whichever one it is) and going to Jonas Brothers concerts? Is it post Sheryl Crow traumatic disorder? Or just that he misses the competition and the joy of winning?

No matter what the reason, 7 time Tour de France winner, Lance Armstrong, is reportedly coming out of retirement.

Lance will be 37 next month. In cycling years that's like being a 45 year-old boxer or quarterback. Sure there was a 38 year-old that competed in this years Tour de France, but you didn't see him on the podium in Paris did you? And Lance isn't going to come out of retirement just to finish the TDF or even place second. He's coming out to try and win the thing.

No matter how you feel about Lance or how you think he will do, this is a good thing for cycling in this country. Americans, other than hardcore cyclists, haven't paid much attention to cycling since LA retired.

Of course he first has to get a team to let him ride for them - or start his own team from scratch. If he joins the existing team it will be as the leader so that could create some bad blood with the current leader/leaders of that team. If you starts his own team he needs to get enough good young riders to support him and convince the Tour officials (who have never seemed to care much for him) to let his team in. The rumor is he will ride for Astana. But Astana wasn't allowed to ride in this year's tour because of past problems with doping. I would guess the tour would have public relations nightmare if they didn't let Lance ride.

So we will get to see if a 37 year-old can win the tour next July. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Pelosi vs. The Church

Warning - Scary Bug-Eyed Lady - not suitable for people with taste.

Today's Workouts

6 mile run with the hoofed-wonder know as The Donk

But I Don't Want to be a Fairy

Cecilia aka Hunter (2) is officially obsessed with Peter Pan, in particular with Tinker Bell. When you call her Cecilia or Hunter she says "No, I Tinker Bell".

So of course everyone in the house has to be a character from Peter Pan. You don't want to cross Hunter - it's not pretty. She will go savage on you.

So the standard question everyone has to ask Cecilia each morning is:

"Cecilia who am I today?"

The answer seems to depend on her mood.

Some days I'm 'Bad' Captain Hook. Sometimes I'm 'Good' Captain Hook or Peter Pan or even a Merman. But lots of times I'm "Boy Tinker Bell"!? Boy Tinker Bell? Is there such a thing? I mean outside of San Francisco.

I don't want to be a Boy Tinker Bell! I don't want to be this 'guy'! Heck I'd rather be Richard Simmons or even The Donk!!!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Today's Workouts

10 mile run this morning in some real muggy air.

US Open 2008

Congrats to Roger "Great Name" Federer on winning the US Open for the 5th year in a row and for winning his 13th Major. 1 shy of record holder Pete Sampras 14.

As a side note. Has anyone ever seen Joaquin Phoenix, the Emperor in Gladiator and Mel Gibson's little brother in Signs, in a room at the same time? I'm not saying...I'm just saying.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Today's Workouts

and yesterday's.

5.2 miles yesterday running and 5.1 miles running today.

US Open 2008

Crying? There's no crying in tennis.

No I'm not crying. Even though Nadal lost to Andy Murray yesterday. Nadal is my boy and I'm bummed he lost. But Murray beat him fair and square so no worries. Best of luck to the Scot this afternoon in his first major final.

TG/MM - I did not watch the Women's final yesterday due to going fishing and then watching football and I really wasn't very interested in either player. How was the match? UsOpen.org says it was 'thrilling' but what are they supposed to say about their own final? That it was a dog. So what's the scoop?

Who do you like in the men's final?

More Uses for Duct Tape

About 2 months ago the arm-holder for my ipod broke. Being cheap and wanting to spend my money on something more important like running shoes or...um...flowers for my wife, I came up with a new fix.

The only problem is that being part Hairy Italian my arms are starting to look like a gorilla's as I age. I've been taping it to my right arm all the time and most of the hair is gone from that arm. I'm going to have to start taping it to the left arm so I don't look like a dork. Maybe I could just Nair my left arm so it matches the right...

Oh and one other problem is the younger boys are always stealing the duct tape to wrap around their swords that they make out of wood. I guess the duct tape makes it look more like metal.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Rain, Rain Go Away

Sitting here this morning watching Hurricane Hanna - now a Tropical Storm - roll in. It's already messed up my normal Saturday morning bike ride with the guys. And I'm not happy about it. It's not nice to mess with an endorphin junkie.

I figure if you can't beat em join em. So I'm going wait for my fried egg sandwich to digest and then head out on a 5 mile run. We are supposed to get heavy rain - I love running in the rain - and winds of 20-40 mph. The winds aren't bad yet so I shouldn't get hit by flying debris and what not.

Early this morning I did my normal Saturday morning grocery shopping. The place was hopping with people 'stocking up' for the storm. This is basically just going to be a lot of rain and some wind here. What do these people need to stock up for? I've got enough food in my house to last weeks? We are a 100 miles from the coast people. The cashier said the store was packed last night with people buying: milk, toilet paper (ok that one is pretty important), batteries, bottled-water (we have city water and have never lost our water supply in the 40 years I've lived here), canned goods (probably bought by people who have an electric can opener), bread etc...People are too funny. I did buy two extra cartons of Ice Cream this morning...you know, just in case...

Friday, September 5, 2008

Today's Workouts

11.5 mile run at lunch time. Dragging my tookus the last few miles.

Stuff Catholics Like

Offering it up or Offer it up.

Offering it up refers to offering something bad, hard, tough to do; to God for the benefit of the souls in purgatory, the salvation of others, for those who are sick, to win the lottery - kidding, it doesn't work, trust me - I should know.

It's similar to Non-Catholics saying "Suck it up".

This can be a formal daily process. For example making a Morning Offering each day where you offer to God all the days works, pains, joys, sufferings...everything. Or at daily Mass where we join with the sacrifice of the Mass.

Or it can be informal, done through-out the day. It could be bumping your head on the bar when getting off the floor, putting up with an obnoxious co-worker (not that I've ever had one of those), missing a long traffic light cause some guy running 26 miles gets in your way. Instead of swearing like a woman in labor, you offer the situation up to God to use your suffering as needed or for something specific.

The only problem with it is that I sound like a dork at soccer games (as opposed to just looking like one). It's much cooler to yell "Suck It Up Princess" when my kids get hurt than "Offer It Up". Oh well, we Catholics must make these small sacrifices...guess I'll just have to offer up having to say offer it up.

So if you ever hear a Catholic say "to offer it up", you will know what they mean.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Today's Workouts

26.2 mile run. Yes that would be technically a marathon. I got to the 25 mile point and decided to tack on another 1.2 miles for yucks. And my time today was faster than any of my real marathons.

So it was a good workout and I can actually walk this afternoon without limping.

I was just wondering...

When will this political crap be over?

All you political junkies enjoy the next two months. Wake me when it's all over. Thanks.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

US Open 2008

Tennis Genius – Nice to see Dinara advance. I hope she wipes up the court with whichever of the Williams’ wins tonight. Will she?

I enjoyed the Federer match last night. Even though he’s not one of my favorite I liked his joy/excitement at the end of the match.

Since you watch way more tennis than I do, is Djokovic as annoying as he seems or is it just me? I couldn’t stand watching him at the Aussie Open, Wimbledon and now the US Open. Plus is he a drama queen about injuries or is he really banged up and a tough guy? And what’s with bouncing the ball a billion times before each serve? Not trying to pick on the guy but he gets on my nerves. I’d like to see Roddick beat him tonight. He seems to be playing well.

I'm assuming Nadal will get by Mardy Fish (what a cool name - not as cool as Roger of course) without too much trouble......but I guess I shouldn't take anything for granted. Fish seems to be really fired up to paly Nadal tonight. Anyway we shall see...

Going to be a fun night (I hope). We have tennis on tap. Great weather. And I have some steaks to cook on the grill. Doesn't get much better than that.

Today's Workouts

4.3 mile run at lunch. Nice warm day out there. Still feels like summer! Boo on school starting back up!

Anyone? Anyone?

Voodoo Economics.

A bunch of people without real jobs are trying to tell me how to live again. Warning rant to follow.

From MSN Money Central
Want to do something truly patriotic to help preserve the American way of life?
Don't retire. At least not yet.

That's the advice of Andrew Yarrow, a vice president of the nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization Public Agenda and the director of its Washington, D.C., office.

Yarrow urges the nation's 78 million baby boomers to forgo traditional or early retirement and work for a few more years, for their own sake and the good of the country.

Yo Yarrow, you self-righteous so and so (see honey I can keep this blog g-rated)…here’s some advice for you, you want more taxpayers to fund Social Security (SS)? What to do something patriotic? I’ve got a challenge for you. Have some more kids. SS’s problem is a lack of people being born to pay in to it. May the flies of 1000 camels nest in your armpits.

The rest of us have already figured out what a rip-off social security is and will try and get whatever we can out of it, but we aren’t holding our breath. I’m 43 and have no illusions that I will get anything from the government-run ponzi scheme.

“A vice president of the nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization Public Agenda”?! Dude, you want to help the economy and be patriotic? Get a real job! What the heck kind of job is that anyway? How do you fit that on a business card? Anyway spare me the unpatriotic BS. Last time I checked my primary responsibility was to my family not the Feds or keeping the SS scam alive. Actually the Feds aren’t even on my list. Well they are on a much different list.

And for the record, I’ve got 11 taxpayers or future taxpayers. 3 have already have over the table jobs and have started the long painful process of being sucked-dry by SS, Medicare/Medicaid, Federal, State and local taxes. They are being forced to pay into the SS system when there isn’t a snowballs chance in hell that there will be any money for them when they retire in 50+ years. Tell me why they have to have money Stolen out of their paychecks each week to be given to some geezer who was too dumb to prepare for retirement, too lazy to keep working or chose not to have a family to take care of them (or ticked their kids and they want nothing to do with them). And no I don’t want to hear about people who don’t have enough money because of various hardships. Sure they are out there. But if the Feds hadn’t gotten into the babysitting business in the first place, there would be plenty of churches, civic groups and other charities to help take care of them…just like there were for 1000’s of years. Stop stealing all this money from us and we will be able to help out the poor on our own.

Economist and actor Ben Stein says a change is going to come.
"Wealthy people are going to pay much, much, much more tax," he says
"I mean, why should very rich people get Social Security?
As for the 63-year-old Stein, he has no plans to retire.
"I don't ever expect to stop working," he says. "I love my work. I don't believe there is a meaningful life without work. You're not a whole person without work."

Not a whole person without work?!

Hey Ben Stein (BS), why don’t you shut your fat pie-hole too while you’re at it. Loved you in Ferris Bueller but dude, come on.‘Economist and Actor’?! Interesting combination of professions there buddy-boy.

So let me get this straight BS, you want the ‘rich’ (people you make over $90,000) to pay even more into the slush fund? And you think they shouldn’t get anything out of it? So why do you people even keep pretending that SS is a retirement plan when it’s really a wealth redistribution scam? And $90k a year makes one rich. Have you actually seen the prices at grocery stores and gas stations? Oh year that's right you are an actor and an economist.

You need work to make your life complete? Fine, sad, but fine with me. If you want to keep working until you croak, go right ahead. But don’t tell those of us who find our meaning in life in better places how to live. Personally I can't wait to retire. I know others who love working and want to keep doing it. Great we can both be happy. If you and your ilk will butt out of our business

Yo BS - why don’t you go take the roll, I think Ferris finally showed up for class.

I don't know why I even care. With all these kids it's not like I'm going to be able to retire early anyway. I've got to find a way to make some money fast. Maybe I need to start playing the lottery...or take up modeling.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Today's Workouts

8.5 mile run this morning.

2 Down and 9 to Go

"Honey, two down and nine to go!"

"Do you want me to cry?!"

We went to see Josh off at his seminary over Labor Day weekend. Guess which quote above was said by me and which was said by Sam?

Hey, if you can't laugh you are gonna cry.

So the entire gang of us trooped up to CT to meet up with Josh who was coming down from NH. It was a time to visit, to laugh, to cry, to pray and to just be together as a whole family before Josh starts his seminary journey this week. It's a long trip for him - all of us really. Sam, I and all the kids will be going through it together to some extent.

Giving your children back to God is painful and done somewhat begrudgingly, at least on my part. We keep reminding ourselves that they all belong to God and we are just taking care of them for him and we should be grateful for the time we have with them. And sometimes I actually believe that and feel better. And sometimes I feel like my heart has been ripped out and I've been kicked in the gut.

On the plus side maybe God will figure he owes us one and give us another baby - can't hurt to try ;)

Here are a few of the 100 or so pictures we took over the weekend.

Excuse me, would you like to buy a bible or maybe a vacuum cleaner?

Josh and Alex with Their Godson, Eric

Playing Stratego

Climbing at a Park

All of us

The Reason There are so Many of us...Like I could keep my mitts of her...Please...

Monday, September 1, 2008

Today's Workouts

40 mile bike ride this morning.

And 6 hours at the church's Labor Day Fair doling out $$$ to the kids to play games and eat junk.

6.5 hour drive back from CT last night.