Saturday, December 30, 2006

The Year in Review, Part 2

So. Here we are with 2 days left in the year. I'd like to break down the significant events of the year, month-by-month. Please note that I have difficulty remembering things that happened 5 minutes ago, let alone 12 months ago, so there may be some lapses.

So without further ado:


Ohio State beats the snot out of Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl. Many sports commentators and others, including myself, predict that Ohio State will be playing there again next year, this time for all the marbles. Later events prove them correct.


My nephew, Grant, is born. No other important events happen this month. Period.


The third anniversary of the unnecessary and dangerous invasion of Iraq comes and goes. American Soldiers continue to be killed and maimed for no good reason.


Ohio institutes a law wherein all applicants for government jobs or contracts must fill out a form containing six yes or no questions. The questions ask them whether or not they belong to terrorist organizations, or have ever given material or financial support to known terrorist organizations. Answering yes to any one of the six questions means you not only will not get the job, but you will be reported to the Department of Homeland Security.

No, it's not a bad April Fool's joke. It just sounds like it is.


One of the Best shows on television, The West Wing, signs off after seven seasons. I am inconsolable for several days afterwards.


June 6th, 2006, comes and goes. Despite the significance of the date (6-6-06), the world does not come to an end. Also, both the Detroit Red Wings and Pistons are eliminated from the playoffs, leaving Detroit's best hope for a championship in the hands of the Tigers. Strangely enough, this year that's not as funny as it sounds.


George W. Bush issues the first veto in the more than five years of his presidency. He vetoes a vote by congress to give federal funding for stem cell research. Once again, this president caves into the lunatic fringe.


Democrat Joe Lieberman loses his Senate primary race. He immediately files to run as an Independent. Proving that even Democrats can be jerks when they want to.


The Toledo Mud Hens repeat as Governor's Cup Champions. Also, Ohio State begins its run towards the National Championship, including a sound thrashing of the Texas Longhorns--in Texas.


The Detroit Tigers fall to the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series. They first got there, though, by thrashing both the Yankees and the Oakland A's. Maybe next year...


The Republicans finally receive a much-deserved and long overdue electoral beating, losing both houses of congress and several state elections, including nearly every elected office in Ohio. Unfortunately, my well-liked Republican boss also lost his re-election bid, thus ruining an otherwise perfect election for me.

In addition, Ohio State beats Michigan and earns a spot in the National Championship game in January. Somewhere Woody Hayes is smiling.


Another Chrismas comes--and goes. Our family celebrates. Some of us are here. Some are not. Some are long gone. But family is the most important thing in our lives, and we all should NEVER forget that.

Have a safe and happy new year, everyone!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

The Year in Review, Part 1

So, here we are with less than 4 days left in the year, and what a momentous year it has been. In fact, this year has been so momentous, I have to split it into two entries to get it all in. So, in this first entry, I will list my favorite parts of the year. In part 2, hopefully posted tomorrow, will contain a month-by-month review as best I can recollect it.

So, without further ado:

My nephew, Grant Thomas Mikesell, was born on Feb 28th!

My sister announcing that a new brother or sister will be joining him next year!

Our much-beloved Republican boss (how often can you use the words "much-beloved" and "Republican" in the same sentence?) was swept out of office in the anti-Republican fervor that swept the city, state, and coutry.

Watching our local newspaper, which both I and my dad have worked for, treat its unionized workers like shit while pretending to stand up for the common man.

BEST MOVIE OF THE YEAR (That I have seen)
This was a tough choice. I didn't see many movies this year, but I have to go with:
X-Men 3: The Last Stand
I'm sorry, but even if it was a summer popcorn flick, there was some genuinely good writing behind it. And it raises some important questions. For example, is there a difference between being "different" and being "exceptional"?

Flags of our Fathers
If you didn't already see this, go see it NOW!

By the way, I don't make decisions on movies I haven't seen yet. So, keeping that in mind:

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead man's chest
I admit it: I liked the first one, and I'm sorry I never got around to seeing this one. And not just because I think Keira Knightley is HAWT! (Which she is!)

I've loved just about everything Pixar has put out since Toy Story.

Shut up and Sing
I'm no fan of country music (an oxymoron, in my opinion), but any band of hot chicks with a lead singer that can dis Bush in public, endure the wrath of former fans because of it, and then record a big "Fuck You" song to those former fans ("I'm not Ready to Make Nice") on their follow-up album, is a band that deserves my attention.

The Good Shepherd
Even my dad wants to see this one, and he's pretty well turned off by any movie that isn't about Japan or WW2.

Thank You for Smoking
This may be the best non-issue-movie issue movie I've seen this year (and the funniest!)

A Prairie Home Companion
I have always liked the show, and watching the Robert Altman treatment of it was quite a show.

An aside: I know both of the previous movies came out this year, but neither of them made it to Toledo, at least not for any length of time.

And, keeping in mind that I only review movies I've seen:

Superman Returns
I know I'll get some flak for this one, but I just didn't like it!
I don't think the movie was necessarily bad, but it's just that it had very little difference from the first one. And let's face it: Viewed from today's lens, the first one was pretty lame. Consider:

Subject of first movie: Superman comes to Earth
Subject of latest movie: Superman comes to Earth
Villian of first movie: Lex Luthor
Villian of latest movie: Lex Luthor
Villain's weapon of choice in first movie: Kryptonite
Villain's weapon of choice in latest movie: Kryptonite
Hero's introduction in first movie: Saves Lois Lane
Hero's introduction in latest movie: Saves Lois Lane
Tender movie moment of first movie: Flying with Lois Lane
Tender movie moment of latest Movie: Flying with Lois Lane
"Villain neutralizes hero with" of first movie: Kryptonite
"Villain neutralizes hero with" of latest movie: Kryptonite
"Hero saved by" in first movie: Mortal
"Hero saved by" in latest movie: Mortals (only a slight difference)
Villain undone by in first movie: A Woman
Villain undone by in latest movie: A Woman
Starting to sense a trend here?!

No Runner-up in this category (I didn't see enough movies!)

Miami Vice

I don't care what the reviews said: I have two words for you: Colin. Farrell.

Too many to list here.

Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip
This show, created by the creators of The West Wing, and aimed at fans of same, captured my appeal from the first show, and while it wavered over the early season, it went right back with the Christmas episode. I hope this show is around for the long haul.

Tie: Heroes and Jericho
Heroes is a sort of cross between X-Men and The X-Files and it appeals to me. And Jericho is that sort of "this could really happen here tomorrow" show that makes me hope that maybe this country might finally wake up and take some interest in finding out what to do should the worst happen. If you wonder what I'm talking about, go back two posts.

Ohio State 42. Michigan 39
'Nuff said

The Mud Hens win the Governor's Cup for the second year in a Row

The Tiger's lose the World Series
So close, and yet so far...

Watching Lloyd Landis's drug-related meltdown
As if cycling needed another drug scandal...

Well, that's all I've got for now. More in the next post.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Busy busy busy!

So I haven't posted in a while. It's been a busy few weeks for me.

Why? Well, I'm glad you asked, Chester!

Y'see, I work in a local government office. My Boss is a Republican. And if you held major elected office in Ohio, and you had an "R" behind your name on the ballot in November, you were pretty much guaranteed a loss in the election.

Republicans who held major elected office in Ohio faced a major case of "let's throw the bums out" disease this election season, as did Republicans in most other states this year. And for the most part, they deserved it.

But in a few cases, they didn't. My boss was one of those. And he is one of the few Republicans I like.

So, as a union steward, and as a representative of a Union that supported him, I've been working hard to make sure that his people, who were all deservedly appointed by him, keep the jobs they deserve.

I can't do much, but I can ensure that our office keeps functioning in the extraordinarily efficient way that it has continued to do since my boss got his job more than a decade ago.

And if that angers a few local Democrats, so be it. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

"What's a Mushroom Cloud?"

You may wonder why the title is in quotes. Well, Chester, I'll tell you.

Y'see, I was discussing the new CBS series Jericho with a few of my co-workers a few days ago. I was explaining the premise of the show, how residents of a small town in Mid-Kansas suddenly one day see a mushroom cloud off to the far west of their town. In the middle of this, one of them stopped me and said, "What's a mushroom cloud?"

I was speechless.

At first, I thought she was kidding me. It took a few moments to realize this was a serious question. When I did, my next reaction was stunned disbelief.

(Please, please, PLEASE tell me that none of the three people reading this need me to explain to them what a M.C. is!)

So after a few moments of dazed silence, I politely explained. She seemed satisfied.

I headed back to my desk. I began to rationalize it. After all, this particular co-worker is only in her early 20's. She was in elementary school when the Cold War ended. She never grew up under the sword of a potential Nuclear attack. Heck, I hardly think about it myself.

So I asked my supervisor, a woman in her late 40's if she knew what I was talking about.

No. Clue.

Now I realize that in this day and age, there are more pressing concerns than knowing what a nuclear explosion looks like. But surely we all studied how World War II ended with Hiroshima and Nagasaki. And we've surely all seen the pictures in the history books. Or at the very least a documentary on the History channel!

After September 11th, everything changed. We no longer have the right to feel absolutely sure that nothing more horrendous than those dreadful incidents could ever happen here. It's a dangerous world out there. And we have to be sure that when or if, God forbid, a major attack occurs in our country, we are prepared for it.

Knowing what one might look like might be a good first step toward that.

Good night, and good luck.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Studio 60 = SAVED!

I've been watching the new NBC show Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip since its premiere this season. Created by Aaron Sorkin, this show was obviously aimed at fans of The West Wing like me. And it had my attention, at first.

But my interest in it waned over the season, as the episodes after the pilot seemed weak.

But tonight, with the Christmas episode, my interest has returned. With a vengeance.

This show, with tonight's episode, has recaptured me. With a beartrap. And a tractor beam.

I will now continue to watch this show regularly. Until it no longer possesses the power that tonight's episode had.

Which I hope will not happen soon.

Good night, and good luck.