31 July 2008

"Outrage" about profits

So ExxonMobil announces today that they've broke its own record for the highest-ever quarterly profit for a U.S. company and the news just keeps showing people complaining that gas prices are high and exasperatingly saying "how dare they" make these profits along with the gratuitous b-roll footage of gas price signs showing $4.39 a gallon at the BP station at the corner of LaSalle & Clark.

I guess the era of stealing music online and posting to YouTube clips of your favorite TV shows, although there's copyright laws in place, the mob mentality has crept into Capitalism.

How dare they??? They damn well dare. It's called business, baby, and there's no way in hell we or the government should tell them that they have to give up profits just to make us happy and lower gas prices.

First of all, all of their profits don't just come from the US, so you can't just leap to that assumption (although I'm sure they aren't hurting) and second of all, even with their record profits, their posting was LESS than Wall Street expected and so the stock took a dumper today and lost almost 5%.

It's NOT our right as American's to share in the profits of the companies we buy food, services and other things from. It's our right not to buy from them OR to buy their stock and reap the rewards just the same, but that's the extent of it. America needs to stop whining.

We don't really produce anything anymore in this country. In fact, what we produce most is consumption. That's our main product these days and until people realize that if you only consume and don't produce, you don't get to call the shots at how much things cost, well, then they are in for a big awakening.

Look I think it sucks that I'm paying whatever for gas too, but we need to use our brains and cut back. Supply and Demand still works people, if we lower our demand, than they HAVE to lower prices to get us to buy again.

From the land of sky blue water...

Comes the baseball refreshing.

Brewer faithful continue to whinge at the fact that half of Miller Park is loaded with Cub faithful who travel 90 miles to support their club. Well, if you sold more season tickets this wouldn't happen. Stop spending 42 hours in the parking lot tailgaiting and get in there and support your team.

The Cubs have taken the first 3 of the 4 games in Milwaukee and the natives have their cheese curds in a bundle. Looking to find any excuse to discount that the Cubs have come in and dominated, resorting to the crowd is a poor excuse.

It has been the match-ups that everyone looked forward to with Lilly, Zambrano and Dempster versus Sabathia, Sheets and Parra and quite simply our pitching is fantastic. Additionally we're finally HITTING again. Soriano looks like he's back to mid-season form and little Mr. Theriot continues his NL Top 5 average hitting ways!! We've also been WAY more aggressive on the basepaths against a catcher who once was ours, Jason Kendall. Kendall's weak arm shows why we quickly didn't resign him in favor of Soto. The Cubs are 7 of 7 in stolen bases in the series already with one more to go today.

Really pleased with the performace EXCEPT for the limping Bobby Howry out of the pen. Thankfully with games 2 and 3, the starters went 8 innings and we didn't need any middle relief. As for closing, Kerry Wood's magical blister continues to keep him from returning and today he'll likely throw his first simulated game. Kerry, stop PICKING YOUR BLISTERS!!!! Jeez.

Of course Cub faithful are feeling really good, but all this is for naught if we come home and just disappear against the Pirates this weekend. We need to sweep the weekend series to really show how dominant we can be.

29 July 2008

Bobby Howry, why do you torment me?

Okay Lou, is the Bobby Howry experiment done now? The guy that was supposed to be the rock-solid middle reliever, good for two innings is KILLING US right now.

His ability to almost get out of an inning and then give up a game tying home run is becoming consistent and predictable. Last night being the most recent when he faced the bottom of the order and a pinch hitter who was known for the long-ball stroke, just had me shaking my head.

Just as we start getting the Carlos "curious george" Marmol back into his right frame of mind, we lose the OTHER guy we need.

Lou, I know your tactic is to just let these guys work through their hits and hiccups and get back to normal and last night you were saved by the fact that the Brewers bullpen and Salomon Torres totally screwed up, but you weren't against the Marlins last week.

Cubs fans are impatient and hyper-critical, I know, but jesus, when you have an opportunity to extend the lead over the division and get yourself some breathing room, you can't keep allowing players to lose their heads and then work back. Oh well, that's why I sit on my couch and you sit in the dugout.

25 July 2008

...And then, there were three!

Or ARE there??

Although the Cubs didn't publicly announce it, three finalists have emerged for the purchase of the Chicago Cubs National League Baseball Franchise. But it seems that the Tribune Co. is now fielding calls from those who DIDN'T get chosen and are encouraging them to partner up possibly to put together an offer.

As of last night the rumor mill had a group supposedly containing HR King Hank Aaron, and Senator and former NFL'er Jack Kemp as one contender, however, the paper today has that the Trib asked them to group together with someone else. Also in the running is a group led by Thomas Ricketts whose family founded TD Ameritrade (online training company) and who is a graduate of the University of Chicago. Lastly is Mark Cuban, the guy I think all of Chicago would like to see be the eventual winner. He publicly has proclaimed that he will NOT be outbid, but as we all know, the evil-doers who are the other MLB Owners have final approval over new ownership groups for fellow teams. I'm all of those old farts have already been called by the NBA brass to see to it that Mark's attempts are made very difficult.

But with all of these rumors now that the seven who failed are being encouraged to combine has this all a bit fishy. I mean, from a business perspective, I understand that the Trib wants to get the most possible, but clearly, if there was a clearly outlined process, than it really should be stuck to.

Separately, the Trib has 3 credible offers for the "property" of Wrigley Field. They didn't mention if any of the 10, including Cuban were part of that 3.

On another note, with Kerry going on the DL (not really a BAD thing at this point, if you ask me), the Cubs have decided to bring up Jeff Smardzija from a short 3-week stint in AAA-Iowa where he's 4-1. However they are going to bring him up as a reliever, so that'll be an interesting thing. What I'm most afraid of is that Jeff is one of the leading pitchers in our farm system and they've really moved him through aggressively. I just don't want them blowing his arm. He's one of those local kids, done good and it would totally suck if they blow him out. It'll be interesting to see how he can do coming in during the 7th or 8th and having to hang on to a lead.

Clearly he's played in front of huge crowds. Playing in South Bend will do that for ya', but that was more of a team sport versus being the ONLY guy the crowd is looking at to perform miracles. Don't get me wrong, he's going to be better suited than anyone else, but alas, when the Cubs have the bases loaded and all 41,083 are standing....well, it really IS different.

24 July 2008

Low Sodium, Low Cholesterol, Day 4

Today I start my 4th day of watching my diet after my gallbladder surgery. The diet they want me on is, as the title says, Low Sodium (less than 2000 mg of salt per day) and Low Cholesterol (which, I never had high cholesterol to begin with but this is no time to be loading on the eggs and cheese).

Although I do find it limiting AND counter-intuitive to my normal dieting needs (low carb) I've been surviving by digging deep into my spice rack. Butterfly pork chops the other night got nicely seasoned by Chinese Five Spice and I'm finding myself using more pepper than I've ever used before.

I can have meats, but not smoked or kosher ones and low-sodium cheeses. It's funny. I've not paid this much attention to labels on products since I was dieting before my wedding. (Did the Atkins, lost 40 pounds/6 months). It was nice to see that my standard Chipotle Burrito that I order has 2567 mg of Sodium (567 more than I'm allowed daily)

Diet Coke - 40 mg of Sodium (hooray!) although I'm drinking more water than ever before right now as it's easier and more available. Don't touch my nectar of the gods!

I do have to say that my pain level is now down to about a 2 (on a 10-point) and as I'm coming to the end of my pain meds, and I'm fairly confident that I'll be heading back to work on Monday.

21 July 2008

Holy Cr*p, that HURT!

So, last Thursday night I thought I had another serious bout of Acid Reflux setting upon myself but by early Friday morning (like at 4:00am) I knew this wasn't normal. So in true stupidity fashion, I drove myself to the ER to get looked at. Within 2 hours they were already hinting that I was going to be checked in and that some more serious tests were going to have to be done.

I'll cut to the chase and I had a ton of gall stones which were blocking up the passage of fluids from my gall bladder into my bile duct. My hospital stay was short and brief and they were able to do my surgery laproscopically (i.e, they only had to put 5 holes into my tummy and chest). Checked in on Friday and checked out on Sunday. It is amazing what they do these days.

I have some nice pain meds and everyone has been really nice. Mary Kay has been wonderful in supporting me and even getting to the hospital early Saturday morning to bring me my gym shoes (I had to do a stress test before they'd wheel me into surgery).

Hospital food still sucks, that'll never change, but I was made comfortable and it was an overall positive experience. I'm a little slow on my feet right now and standing up and sitting down/lying down are painful experiences to a point.

The good news is though that I'm fixed for now and have to look at some lifestyle changes as without a gall bladder, I need to watch high sodium foods and high cholesterol foods. Otherwise, I'm good to go.

Talk to you all soon.

17 July 2008

Filed under: Really?

Rolling Stone guitarist Ron Wood has entered rehab for alcohol.

He's been spending time with a 23-year old Russian cocktail waitress at his Irish country-side retreat. He's married of course...not to the waitress.

He's 61. What always makes me stop and think is that Mick Jagger is 2 months older than my dad (Mick turns 65 on July 26th, Dad on October 3rd). So this is like if my DAD went on a 2-week bender. That has me cracking up.

16 July 2008

2008 All-Star Game - a stream of consciousness post

Well, as the bottom of the 10th went on, I had my headline all written as Uggly Uggla, but by the grace of God, Aaron Cook somehow threw 3 consecutive ground balls to get us out of the bases loaded, no out mess the NL found themselves in.

After a flawless Dempster 9th inning, I thought for sure it was the impetus for them to get something in the top of the 10th, but with men on 1st and 3rd, Uggla hit into a DP. Then he went on to have TWO errors in the bottom of the 10th which got us into the situation above.

So here's my sinking feeling, Marmol is left out in the bullpen........... I think I have acid reflux now!

Geez, the 11th inning isn't any better for the NL. Clearly dodging this many bullets means it is time for a big inning in the 12th? Nate McLouth, poor guy stuck on a crappy team and such a good player!! Nice gun to the plate to keep it tied. So after a set of bunts and an intentional walk, it's back to Dan Uggla in the 12th. Goat to Hero? Nope, he totally chumps it by striking out. Admittedly the 3rd strike was ugly bad pitch but geez dude. You had your chances TWICE now. Explains why you're on the Marlins!

Wow Marmol gets Quentin to end the 13th. To quote Joe Buck "How about this? Northside v Southside here."

To the 14th and Buck & McButthead keep making jokes about "This time it counts" and are starting to allude to the fact that once all the pitchers are used, what will happen. I personally would love to see Bud Selig get ripped to shreds by a New York crowd, but let's see what happens.

What?? They just had a second 7th inning stretch? Who the hell is running the show out there? A second 7th inning stretch should occur during the 16th inning, not the 14th you idiots!!

This kid Christian Guzman from Washington has really impressed me tonight. Quick hands, solid hands at third (I was pissed that they pulled Aramis after his walk in the 10th to pinch run) and he has a quick bat. Young and solid, but buried in the nation's Capitol.

So Brad Lidge has another stellar outing like he did in 2005 during the NL playoffs, almost costing the Astros a chance to lose to the Shite Sox. Two hits, a walk and a long fly ball and this means the Cubs won't have home field advantage when they get to the World Series. Nothing will ever come easy and that's fine.

11 in a row for the AL. When will this end? So I'll have fun deleting 5 hours of B.S. off of my DVR now. Good luck and good night.

14 July 2008

The Curse gets passed on, officially

So Sunday the 13th was Aidan's first Cub game. To break him in easily we actually were on a rooftop along Waveland Ave (the one right at Kenmore) and he seemed to enjoy it. Of course the following:
  1. This means the Cub fan curse has now officially been passed on to a 5th generation LoCicero male.
  2. Since his first game was a Kane County Cougars game and they lost, and, for the first time this year Ryan Dempster loses at Wrigley, he's 0-2 for games in person. That's my boy. Of course, this coming Sunday we're at a Sox game, so I'm kinda hoping he goes 0-3 and then breaks out of his streak ;-) Sorry Shite Sox fans.

Here's some pix of us on the rooftop.

(Aidan calls the beer man for TWO!)

11 July 2008

Yummy Goodness

This is literally "how I roll". Well, how my friendly neighborhood Chipotle burrito wrapper rolls for me! 1016 calories of fantastic fun.
My Chipotle Burrito:

10 July 2008

Obama v Jesse

The date of this cartoon was March 01, 2008. 4 months later and do we really have to question how much comedy is rooted in the truth?

08 July 2008

Another reason to love YouTube

I just laughed at this. After having spent a couple days at the range myself over the weekend, it always amazes me how people think it's so easy to just shoot a gun. Well, I guess for all of the gang-bangers it is, however, keep in mind that this woman is shooting a gun that fires a bullet that's roughly 1/2 inch in diameter. It could stop a buffalo. It's a .50 caliber pistol.

I almost want one, but I imagine the ammunition costs a left leg, or in this case, a nose.

07 July 2008

Old Tyme Hockey! Eddie Shore, puttin' on the foil!

(Mikita, Esposito & Hull sing the 7th inning stretch at Wrigley)
(Same three in their playing days)

I am more and more amazed at the dramatic turnaround of the Chicago Blackhawks organization.

First it was Jimmy Buffet and his Parrot-heads,

then it was The Police on their reunion tour,
and NOW, it's Cold Steel on Bricks and Ivy.
The puck-heads in the Chicago and Detroit offices of MB/KO are a-buzz with the upcoming outdoor match between the Hawks and Deadwings at Wrigley Field. People already asking about tickets (it's not even officially been announced yet) and trash-talking abounds.

The official announcement to come just prior to or at the opening of the first annual Blackhawks Fan Convention July 18-20th, 2008. I'm anxiously awaiting ticket information!

Here come the Hawks, the mighty Blackhawks. Skate the attack, yeah, we'll back you Blackhawks.

06 July 2008

4th of July Weekend Wrap-up

I love the long holiday weekends except on Sunday when they end and reality hits us all in the face that we have to go back to work (not TOO obvious of a statement made here, eh?). We had a great weekend at the Desmet's cottage in Cassopolis, Michigan.

With the extension of I-355 all the way to I-80 now, it makes our trip SO MUCH NICER and I do believe shorter. Add to that, that our I-PASSes now work on the Indiana Toll Road's I-Zoom system and we can pretty much make it there in 2.5 hours.

So we ate at a few restaurants before the full family got there. You can see my reviews here.

It also was the second time that Wrigley has gone swimming. One would think that swimming comes naturally to dogs, but last year, I really had to teach her what to do. This year, after the first lap in the water, she remembered and made it a much more pleasing experience. In fact, she loved it so much and was pretty obsessed with getting the orange floaty throw toy.

It was Aidan's first boat ride and first swim. He's just the most adaptable human being I know (seriously). Nothing phases him, he doesn't fuss and he just accepts that something "new" is going on and he'll get used to it. We had some nice daddy/son time in the water and we really had a blast. Unlike that knucklehead in the news a couple weeks ago, I didn't leave my son out in the SUN to burn like a crisp. In fact, he barely got any thanks to the Baby Coppertone and some cool sticky things you put on the kids to know when they've had enough son (the little logos disappear on a light-sensitive sticker).

Here's a few pics from the weekend. I'm dreading going to work this week. I shouldn't, but I just have this feeling that a lot of things are going to blow up.

01 July 2008

Happy July! Where is F1?

Those of you who've read my angry posts about F1 and how they've stiffed the USA out of an annual race know that I have a passion for motor sports. This video got forwarded to me and I couldn't be more tickled.

It has two loves of mine, motor sports and Spain put together in a very fun way. Although I may despise F1's management, at the heart of it, the TEAMS that race there KNOW that the fans matter and to that end, I give you this. Thank you Scuderia Toro Rosso and Red Bull.

The running of the "bulls" in Pamplona! Sorry, it does get a little jumpy in parts.