Tuesday, July 31, 2007


Tuesday Top Five Returns with a new spin

Yeah, that's right. I had another one of those furloughs from the blog. Another week or so where I just go on walkabout and don't pay any attention to my regular posting diet. I could apologize from now until doomsday, but would that get you your regular blog entries?

No, sir, it wouldn't.

Which is why I'm back with a new kind of Tuesday Top Five . . . Top Five Excuses I've Got. Silly, you say? Obnoxious, maybe? Well, sure. But how many times have you endured some blogger or newspaper columnist just going on and on about how hard it is to write a column? Or about whether Kobe Bryant will patch things up with the Lakers ownership? Or whether Lindsay's last rehab tour was a waste of money?

So here we go. Five halfway decent excuses for why I haven't been writing:

5. Strange Questions Being Asked At My Office. So, as most of you know, I've recently moved my daytime operations (aka, the Job) from Casa del Wieland in Los Feliz to an office space in Korea Town. It's been great so far. I like being able to get out of the house, and I even missed the commute - which I know sounds crazy for one living out here in the City of Angels - but seriously, a 15-minute drive down Vermont Avenue works perfectly. In the morning, it's just the right amount of ESPN radio. In the evening, it's decompression from a long day.

But offices yield strange conversations from time to time. Like today, when one of my co-workers, having read a review of Warren Ellis' novel in the LA Times, started the following one with me --

Co-Worker: Hey, English major. You studied English, right.

Me: Yeah. Sort of.

Co-Worker: What's polyamorous mean?

Apparently the word had been used to describe one of Ellis' characters. Now look, I know what it means. I even have a number of synonyms bouncing around inside my skull. Things like slutty and promiscuous, and stuff like that. But I'm in an office now (at the YMCA, for God's sake - where we're building strong kids and families every day!), so I have to watch my tongue.

Only how do you describe "slutty" in an office without offending someone? Or getting written up in some way? It's unnerving. More to the point, when you say this --

"It means - ahem - one who has a lot of partners."

And the other person says this --

"You mean like a lot of dancing partners?"

What do you do? What DO YOU DO?

Yeah, I know, it's a rotten excuse. So let's try this one . . .

4) Going to Hawaii at the end of the week. That's right. Our Woman in LA and I are taking off for the land of Magnum P.I. on Friday after a Thursday night stop-over in San Francisco. And we're not even packed.

See that picture at the top of the post? That's where we're going. But we haven't bought the travel-sized toiletries yet. Busy, busy, busy!

Could you blog at a time like this? What's that? I am blogging at a time like this. Sigh.

3) I'm extremely nervous about the potential expansion of the Big Ten. As regular readers know, Our Man in LA - like virtually everyone else who grew up in states bordering the Great Lakes - went to college at a school in the Big Ten. I've followed the conference practically since birth, even though I had the audacity to attend a school other than the ones favored by either my father's side of the family or my mother's side.

It turns out that next year, the Big Ten - which has always been one of the most, if not the most, popular college sports conferences - will launch its own cable network. In the beginning, they'll mostly broadcast sports like soccer, hockey, and swimming. Then the occasional football or basketball games featuring lesser teams will start to appear (think Northwestern v. Minnesota in . . . well, really almost anything).

Finally, the big stuff will end up there. Ohio State-Michigan in football. Indiana-Illinois in basketball. You get the picture.

To pull it off, the Big Ten is looking to expand, adding another university to the fold. This makes me a little sad, of course, because they already have 11 members despite being "ten." Adding a 12th member, well . . . the mind reels.

Of course, it's not the first time the conference has talked of doing this. Usually the discussion is focused on Notre Dame or Missouri or someplace like that. Something that sort of fits. Yokels from Ohio will throw out things like the University of Cincinnati or the University of Louisville, even though they don't really fit. Yokels from Pennsylvania will talk about why the University of Pittsburgh should join, and if you disagree, they'll say --

"Dan Marino went there! I'll fight ya!"

But none of these fine institutions are in the Big Ten's sights these days. Nope. They're looking East - to the likes of Syracuse (home of the Orangemen) and Rutgers (home of the Scarlet Knights, and neighbors to my brother- and sister-in-law). Sure these schools are pretty far East, but that'll be good for Penn State, the Big Ten argues.

By the way, above #3, that's the Syracuse Orange. His name's Otto. Seriously.

Oh yeah, and either one of them would help deliver the New York market to the Big Ten Network. Which, you know, is a consolation for stretching the Conference from its usual hunting grounds in the Midwest.

New York's no Des Moines, I grant you, but . . . forget it. It's not even that funny a joke.

So how could I . . . OK, next excuse.

2) I'm only 200 pages into the latest Harry Potter, and I want to finish before Thursday.

There's actually no joke here. Steph had the book last week in New York, and I got started last night. Don't tell me any spoilers. I won't believe you. I went to two spoiler sites before the book came out, and they told me diametrically opposed things.

So seriously, as soon as I finish this post, or at least my work day, it's back to reading.

So there's really only one excuse left. And it's this:

1. I turned 35 last week, and I'm still recovering.
Others have written about this, and I'm afraid I can't do it justice. Plus, there are pictures if you follow this link here.

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