Thursday, December 14, 2006

Breaking Down the MSU Coaches

Let me be the first to say, welcome back to the Spartan Estates neighborhood, Mark Dantonio.

For those who don't know, I'm a Michigan State alum and I am a dedicated sports fanatic.

I was really impressed with Dantonio's performance (at least what I've read and heard) at the Dream Team banquet. He's been solid in landing and tagging quite a few recruits. The simple things he does the right way are very good for the program. Got me thinkin' about our recent coaches and what they'd be like as neighbors.

Dantonio. Solid, solid guy. Church-goin' kinda guy. But not showy about it. When you ask him how he's doing, he doesn't say, "blessed." He says "good, and you?" Like a normal person. But you can tell he's devout. He's the neighbor you'd give your house key and ask to bring in the mail and feed your fish when you're on vacation. You'd never have to return the favor, because he'd be buttoned up enough to stop his paper and his mail whenever he goes out of town. He'd have a 12 foot power boat ...nothing flashy, but just enough to pull his kids on skis and fish a little. He'd have a dog. A lab or a collie.

In contrast, you'd never ask John L to bring in your mail. Never. He would just seem too scattered. He'd talk your ear off when you're out mowin' the lawn about his adventures and his fool proof remedy for gettin' ridda skunks and varmints. He'd probably "pop by" every time your garage was open and just start talkin' and talkin' about nothin'. Oh, and he would always have an "idea" or "plan" that he wanted you to help with. Like, oh, by the way, can you help me move a fridge from my basement to my garage? "Give me a hand for a quick minute, would ya," he'd ask? You'd go over and next thing you know you're sittin' in his car pressin' the gas pedal for a half hour while he tries to figure out what that rattlin' is in his engine. Come to think of it ...he'd probably try and get you into Amway. He'd have multiple dogs and they'd bark alot.

Saban would be the neighbor you never meet and know nothing about. Nice guy. Keeps his yard up ...but the extent of your relationship is a wave from your driveway or car as you pass each other's houses. He'd NEVER have a dog ...but maybe a pitbul because it represents power, just like his black Caddy V8 and his 120,000 BTU grill that he never uses. But he probably wouldn't have a dog.

Perles would be a good neighbor, too, but he'd get on your nerves. Not because of any one thing, but lots of little things. Perles would be a little lazy. Ya know ...the neighbor that leaves his empty trash cans by the curb for a full 24 hours or more, leaves his Xmas lights up 'til March, and doesn't mind all the dandelions in his lawn and that they're going to spread onto your lawn. He'd still be a good enough neighbor, however, that you'd feel comfortable asking to borrow his seldghammer or extension ladder - which you know he has because you can see it in his ever-openned-garage. Yes, he'd leave his garage door open for the world to see, almost all of the time. His car would always be parked in his driveway because his garage would be an absolute disaster. His mutt would poop on your lawn, never be on a leash, and just bother you.

And, of course with Perles, there'd be the mad bashes at his house where the partyers repeatedly piss on your lawn, sending his dogs (and John L's) into a barking frenzy and waking up yer kids. Not to mention the massive amount of littered empties that are found scattered about your lawn in a perfect sort of wishbone formation. But hey, the good news is that he never asks you for the money you got from Kroger when you returned them. Call it an annoyance payment, I guess.

Izzo would know everyone in the neighborhood, he'd organize the block party in the summer, the children's easter egg hunt in the spring, he'd be on the neighborhood board of directors, and ...dammit ...your property value would go up because he'd want sprinklers, flowers, and stone walls at the entrances. He'd also have a nicer car than you, the best lawn on the block, and ... well'd have to go to confession every week because of all your coveting. His kids would always say "please" and "thank you" and call you "Mr. Spirit." He'd have a dual-engine, 24' Boston Whaler and his passion for life would be reflected in his love of fishing. He'd invite you out with him because he has such a big heart. Everything he'd do would be better than you and you would just know, somewhere in life, you missed whatever gene he carries that makes him this motivated and perfect. His dog would be a King George or Wineraimer and it would be the best trained dog you'd ever seen would get Izzo's morning paper and would go for walks without a leash and never get more than two feet away from Izzo.

I can totally see it this way. I'm a real in-depth sportswriter, eh?

Thursday, November 09, 2006


It's a very small world when off-the-wall concepts can sometimes all meet on a single day. Seemingly, my opinion of John Mayer (and my approval of him as an artist), my public voicing of that opinion, and then that opinion being recycled back to me from a random source would be nothing more than coincidence. But what if that opinion changed in an instant? And how does that relate to new towels?

My wife bought new towels and commented on how "soft" they were. I said, "so were our current towels when we bought them two years ago." She says, "no." I say, "yes." We argue. The softness of towels is not a point either of us would ever dream of conceding to the other. Well, we have new towels. They are soft. Like ALL new towels. And the good thing about a blog is that 2 years from now when she insists we get new towels and she lauds how "soft" they are, I will have this permanent record to put in her face. Or maybe she'll put it in mine at the divorce proceedings.

But that's "chicks" for ya. They like new towels and soft sheets and John Mayer. And they don't "get it" that John Mayer, overnight, became cliche. It was cool to like him when no one heard of him. But then when "Your Body is a Wonderland" came out and his concerts got on the list of "good things to do on a date to ensure you get laid," he was over. Done. Then it became cool to flex your manliness and hipness by stating how he "sold out" or he was "pussy music" (and that you never liked him). He's not the first such artist, nor will he be the last.

Remember when the Goo Goo Dolls had some college-campus-cred? And then they wrote a song with lyrics like "And I don't want the world to see me'Cause I don't think that they'd understand".

Translation: "Ooooo. Don't look at me. I'm beautiful and my hair is mussed and I'm crying because ...I ...much ...*sniff*."

I OWNED "A Boy Named Goo" and I probably made public declarations of things like, "The Goo Goo Dolls are really good," and probably made music-snobby comments like, "their sound is tight." I was known to say ridiculous things like that in 1995. Like I had the first damn clue about what a "tight" sound was.

Getting back to Mayer. He went the way of the Goo Goo Dolls. I liked him. Then I realized he was writing songs to get himself laid. I hope to God I didn't make bodacious artistical claims of his greatness and that I didn't compare him to some other legends like Tom Petty or Dave Matthews. Ah, who's kidding ...I probably did.

So, then, "Body is a Wonderland" becomes a hit and I wake up and hear the lyrics... "Swimming a deep sea Of blankets" and "One pair of candy lips and Your bubblegum tongue" ...I'm apt to puke. I get mad that he fooled me. That I bought his CD and now I have to give it to my 14-year-old niece. I can't even sell that crap on eBay, else I have a permanent record that I actually owned "Room for Squares."

I didn't. I bought it for my wife.

Then something happens like today and during a high powered, Trump-like, multi-million dollar sales presentation, a guy from New York City says, "I liked John Mayer back when it was still cool to like him" and the room full of 20somethings break into laughter. I realized then, this is now the accepted fact of John Mayer. He was new and cool ...then lame ...and now its cool to say he's lame.

Here's where I'll blow your mind.

John Mayer knows it.

On this day, this very same day I realized John Mayer is a universal punchline, I randomly get a link to John Mayer's blog from someone who caught me using Borat's "verrrrrr' nice" and called me on my next "Goo Goo Doll-slash-John-Mayer" mistake right as it was happening.

John Mayer says of himself, "just remember: I was truly hip for three weeks back in 2001."

Now I'll have to buy his next CD from his personal website after his record label drops him ...after Jessica Simpson won't take his calls ...after he's relegated to playing 300 seat bars, again. And I'll be to blame, partly. He'll be the current 20something's personal Brian VanderArk.

Here's hoping they all land in a stack of new, soft towels. (I know ...not clever. I tried.)

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Running "Free"

About a month ago I read an article on the Tarahumura (1) in Men's Healthy titled "The Men Who Live Forever" by Christopher McDougal. The Tarahumara are practically immortal: their incidence of disease is just about zero in every category. They can run 40 or 80 miles at a time. Tarahumara like to eat salty snacks and beer - almost exclusively. They live to be 95 or 100 years old and 65 year old Tarahumarans can still run 40 miles at a time. On their feet are thin sandals lashed high around their calves with leather straps. Their secret - barefoot running style. They don't warm up, don't stretch. They don't need orthotics and air-cushioned Nike heels. Just leather on the bottoms of their feet. The author of the article reported his size 12 foot rebuilt into a size 9. His arch came back. And he found himself running longer and easier than ever.

I instantly adopted this because it all just clicked with me. I could not run barefoot because rocks and stones still hurt. I don't have the skillz needed to make a pair of Tarahumara shoe-sandals. So I bought the
Nike Free - a minimalist shoe that replicates barefoot running.

Now I'm running all the time. It's a revolution, baby!

LOG: 8/15/2006, ran 2.0 miles while pushing Marylin & Jimmy in the jogging stoller; weight 177 lbs

Monday, August 14, 2006

Food for Thought

*** I'm not a big fan of forwarded messages, but I like a good analogy and story like this one. *** *** Instead of "forwarding to everyone I know" ...I'll just leave it here for other people who like a good story like this. ***

A mouse looked through the crack in the wall to see the farmer and his wife open a package. "What food might this contain?" The mouse wondered - he was devastated > to discover it was a mousetrap. Retreating to the farmyard, the mouse proclaimed the warning. "There is a mousetrap in the house! There is a mousetrap in the house!" The chicken clucked and scratched, raised her head and said, "Mr. Mouse, I can tell this is a grave concern to you, but it is of no consequence to me. I cannot be bothered by it." The mouse turned to the pig and told him, "There is a mousetrap in the house! There is a mousetrap in the house!" The pig sympathized, but said, "I am so very sorry, Mr. Mouse, but there is nothing I can do about it but pray. Be assured you are in my prayers." The mouse turned to the cow and said "There is a mousetrap in the house! There is a mousetrap in the house!" The cow said, "Wow, Mr. Mouse. I'm sorry for you, but it's no skin off my nose." So, the mouse returned to the house, head down and dejected, to face the farmer's mousetrap alone. That very night a sound was heard throughout the house -- like the sound of a mousetrap catching its prey. The farmer's wife rushed to see what was caught. In the darkness, she did not see it was a venomous snake whose tail the trap had caught. The snake bit the farmer's wife. The farmer rushed her to the hospital, and she returned home with a fever. Everyone knows you treat a fever with fresh chicken soup, so the farmer took his hatchet to the farmyard for the soup's main ingredient. But his wife's sickness continued, so friends and neighbors came to sit with her around the clock. To feed them, the farmer butchered the pig. The farmer's wife did not get well; she died. So many people came for her funeral, the farmer had the cow slaughtered to provide enough meat for all of them. The mouse looked upon it all from his crack in the wall with great sadness. So, the next time you hear someone is facing a problem and think it doesn't concern you, remember -- when one of us is threatened, we are all at risk. We are all involved in this journey called life. We must keep an eye out for one another and make an extra effort to encourage one another.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Not for the bandwagon fans of Don

So maybe the family blog just wasn't enough. Maybe you wanted to know more. This blogs for you ...but mostly its for me. Don. My thoughts. My daily observations. My not-so-daily commitment to things played out for your amusement. My workouts. My self examination. Me, me, me. Don't want to know lots and lots of stuff about me ...Don ...then hit the Back button and get lost. Otherwise, enjoy.

It should be noted this first post is awfully uninspired. I'm about to log off the computer entirely and go get a snack and watch some TV. But I'll be back ...oh, yes. I'll be back.