Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Treacly Sean Taylor Post

Like probably most of you, before I begin work in the morning, I take a quick look at the news. Yesterday morning, I launched my Web browser to learn that the Redskins' best defensive player, Sean Taylor, had died of a gunshot wound suffered the day before. I'm not sure whether to be embarrassed to say this, but the news hit me harder than I would have thought. I was genuinely saddened and sort of depressed, feelings that didn't leave me all day.

At one point, I even felt an impulse to publicly acknowledge his death in some way, like with a brief note in my gmail status message or my myspace page (those distinctively mid-2000s ways of expressing yourself). Then I realized that I had never done this when people I actually knew died.

Like most people, I never met Sean Taylor. Like most people, I probably wouldn't have even recognized him if he were in the same bar or restaurant as me. But I'm not alone in feeling oddly distraught by his passing: an article in today's Washington Post recounts that hundreds of fans showed up at the Redskins' headquarters Monday night and Tuesday, first to pray for his recovery, then to mourn his death. These are people who took time off of work, school, time with their own family and friends, because they felt compelled to pay their respects to a stranger who, while undeniably a star, never transcended into celebrity status -- you rarely thought about Taylor after the game was over.

It struck me that four out of the five fans quoted in the article were roughly my age -- between 28 and 34. Maybe, as someone who grew up in the DC area in the 1980s, I am part of a generation with an unusually strong personal investment in this team. The Redskins were good -- among the NFL's premiere teams -- when we were young, and, with the Bullets perennially horrible and no baseball team in DC, had few competitors for our affection. Kids tend to embrace their favorite teams in unguarded, wholly irrational ways. I grew up with posters of Redskins players on my wall. When they lost the 1986 NFC Championship game to the Giants, I actually cried.

Maybe younger fans, not old enough to remember the last Super Bowl victory, never invested in the team the way we did, and maybe older fans are too old and cynical to mourn. But for us, Sean Taylor was one of the few players on the recent, mediocre Redskins teams good enough to remind us of the greats that used to grace our bedroom walls, and his death -- at an age younger than we are now -- strikes us in that kid-like, irrational part of our hearts that this team still occupies, a place that we have allowed to remain unguarded.

Monday, November 19, 2007

What's in a Name?

So we have a chimney, and it's dirty. We'd been thinking about getting it cleaned for a while, and hadn't gotten around to it. But it wasn't winter, so no rush.

So while looking through the Val-Pak (you know, that blue envelope that comes stocked with 40 or so coupons for dry cleaners, tree services, landscapers, etc.) and I came across a coupon for a chimney-cleaning company. Nothing particularly unusual about the ad, other than the name of the company:


Now, seriously. Even a normal, clean-minded soul can see the problem with this. Your mind doesn't have to live in the gutter to get a chuckle out of a name like that.

Only one question remains. Are they the masters of their own domain?

Sunday, November 18, 2007

The Reason We All Went to High School

All of our edumacation HAS had a point. It has come down to this.

According to this website, this is the quality of our blog:

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Makes you proud, doesn't it?

Sandbarred Once Again

For those of you who have heard the story of the great catastrophe of May 2007: my father just called and he is in the middle of Tampa Bay and has once again hit another sandbar! He is taking it well: sandbars are his speciality! He instructed me to tell my hubby not to worry and come and push the boat out of the water this time. He is stuck much worse this time and has had to call for help. No comment from the peanut gallery.

Monday, November 12, 2007

(Cal) Bears, (USC) Trojans and (Emerald) Nuts

Continuing our series of travelogues: Asha and I were in Berkeley this weekend for the California-USC football game. Now, when we bought our tickets a few weeks ago, the prevailing college football wisdom was that this game would probably determine the conference championship, and maybe even the national championship. Since then, however, both teams have played poorly enough to make everyone forget about all that nonsense, and the stakes on Saturday turned out to be a little smaller: with a win, Cal would have the inside track for the nondescript Emerald Bowl (unofficial nickname: The Nuts Cup), but if they lost, they'd probably get stuck in... well, the Emerald Bowl.

So, not quite what we were hoping for (not that we Berkeley people care THAT much about football -- we are, of course, too cool for that -- but "game of the year" would have been nicer than "game of the region in the 5pm PST timeslot that day"). But, once it sunk in that dreams of the national championship would have to be replaced by dreams of sharing top billing with Emerald's "larger, higher quality nuts," we were able to move past it and get excited for the game.

It rained. Steadily, through the whole game. Cal played, eh, decent, and the game was close throughout. So close, in fact, that we didn't dare leave early. So we sat in the rain for four and a half hours, to see Cal lose the game in their final possession. If you're like me and have never sat in steady rain for four and a half hours: you do get wet.

When you're into the game, though, you really don't notice the rain ... as much as you normally would. And you do dry off, eventually (or so I'm told -- it's only been a couple of days).

Thursday, November 1, 2007

There is a Turd on the Sidewalk

When walking to work this morning, I looked down and noticed there was a TURD on the sidewalk. It was HUGE and sort of propped up against the wall of the metro, but bent, like it was sitting. And it had a baby turd next to it. The big turd was about as wide as my forearm, though only half as long. The little one was like a little hat for the big turd. I WISH I had a picture, but alas, I don't bring my camera to work (and my camera phone is completely useless).

The best part about it was that there was a yellow police cone surrounding it. The cone had a hole in the middle, which people used to dispose of their trash. I thought it was going to be gone on the way home, but nope, it is still there. It seems that no one wants to dispose of the poop.

I don't even know what to say about it except that THERE IS A TURD ON THE SIDEWALK.

However, I kept wondering in what situation I would ever need to take a dump on the sidewalk. Was this person mad at the metro (for the poop was quite close to the metro)? Did he think a poop would enhance the walk by the metro? And further, what did he EAT? I have never seen a poop that big, except from a zoo animal. And how did he get it all positioned like that - it looked like a little poop person sitting against the wall. Is this a new art thing?