Monday, May 25, 2009


Have you noticed how many movers and shakers have the same names as their fathers? I was going to say "successful people" but we're talking politicians and businessmen, not how I measure success. Does "success" engender naming offspring after yourself or does naming a kid after yourself give them a leg up? Simply imponderable.

Let's go back in time:

2008: Barack Hussein Obama II
Joseph Robinette Biden, Jr

The man who could never become president, John McCain III

2000-2004: George Walker Bush, son of George Herbert Walker Bush, nephew of George Herbert Walker (can you tell where the money really came from?)
Richard Cheney II

The guy who really won the 2000 election, Albert Gore, Jr

How about the guy who really won in 2004, John Kerry? Nope, but maybe if he'd been a junior, he would have had more help in proving election tampering.

1992-1996: William Jefferson Clinton was born William J Blythe, III. Bill's brother was Roger Clinton, Jr

1988-1992: We already mentioned George Bush. How about his VP, John Danforth Quayle III?

1988: Michael Dukakis? Not a junior, but running mate Lloyd Bentson, Jr was.

1984: Walter F Mondale? Nope.

1980: Ronald Reagan? Nope, but he has a son named Ron.

1976: James Earl Carter, Jr
Gerald R Ford, Jr was born Leslie King, Jr. That's gotta be a record in vanity somehow.
Nelson Rockefeller was not a Jr (a Sr, though), but his father (John D, Jr) and brother were (John D III).

1968: Neither Nixon nor Agnew was (and see what happened to them) but Hubert H Humphrey II was. He sired HHH III and HHH IV, plus the Metrodome. Quite the legacy there.

1964: Lyndon Johnson? Nope, but his brother was.

1960: John Kennedy wasn't but his brother was. In case you need reminding, JFK was a Sr.
Nixon's running mate in 1960 was Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr.

1952-1956: David Eisenhower II (different middle name)

That's enough for now. That's a lot of Juniors, Seniors, 2nds and 3rds. Myself, I'm an only.

Sunday, May 17, 2009


Today's decision on what to have for lunch was made by the klutz who unpacked groceries at 11:50 AM and dropped a bag containing a carton of eggs. Only two eggs broke, so a nice little omelet became the main course.

It hit the spot, too. The secret to a great omelet? A few drops of Tabasco sauce.

Friday, May 15, 2009

I've Done This Before

I went to my usual neighborhood theater this afternoon (Willow Creek on Shelard Parkway in Plymouth, Minnesota). The guy at the box office looked a cut above the typical teen-to-twentysomething that normally mans the booth. I said "One for 'State of Play,'" and before he could say, "That'll be $6.25," I had laid down a fiver, a single and a quarter. He was genuinely surprised and made a comment like, "You're very prepared." "Yes," was my reply, "I've been here a few times."

That's not what I wanted to say. I keep track of the movies I see but I don't memorize my stats. If I did, I would have been able to instantly reply, "Yes, I've been here a few times. This will be my 692nd viewing of a movie at your fine establishment." The drama addict in me would love to have seen his jaw hit the floor. Unfortunately, I tallied my stats several hours after seeing the movie.

In case you're wondering, the count started in 1994. I didn't make Willow Creek my usual haunt until 2000, when I saw 49 movies there (out of 122 that year). My peak for the theater was 101 in 2005. You can thank Joss Whedon's "Serenity" for enough repeat viewings in 2005 to help me eclipse 2004's 100.

I wonder if the Manager of Willow Creek would really care if he found out that I was one of his best customers. Why not? Well, I'm also one of his worst. I almost always go to a matinee and almost never buy anything at the concession stand. Theaters pay most of the box office take to the distributors so they make next to nothing off ticket sales. Their highest profit margins come from concessions, especially pop and popcorn.

If I chatted with the Manager, I might suggest the following deal: I get a laminated unlimited access pass to the theater and I agree to purchase concessions equal to or exceeding the cost of the tickets I don't buy. It's a win-win scenario: I have the same out of pocket costs and he shifts his revenue to extremely high margin products. Like I said, win-win, except that, from the distributor's perspective, it's fraud. Except for that one little detail, it's a great plan.

Monday, May 4, 2009

A Tale of Two Michelles

More Michelle Obama.

Less Michele Bachmann.


I'm begging.