Sunday, January 14, 2007

JANUARY 14, 2007 NEW YORK TIMES

Well, the Bears stumbled into the NFC Championship Game. And now they are in a no-win situation. See, next week the New Orleans Saints come to town. If the Bears lose, the season ends in tears. If the Bears win, they beat the team that gave New Orleans a reason to smile. New Orleans. You remember them right? The Superdome, the dead, the destroyed city. A no-win situation.

Speaking of the Monsters, the Times had an article on Brian Urlacher. They started from the premise that the Bears have had extraordinary middle linebackers, with three in the Hall of Fame. Then they talked to Dick Butkus about Urlacher. Butkus said all the right stuff, but he dropped this gem,
The first thing people talk about is speed, but hitting hard can bring out a guy’s yellow streak. I did it not so much to intimidate, but to create turnovers. Maybe if the guy is worried about you, he won’t be as worried about protecting the ball. It’s so hard to compare different eras, and we all have our own style. Mine worked for me. His works for him.
In other words, Butkus doesn't think Urlacher hits hard enough? Wow. By the way, Dick's Newspaper Grill strikes me as a wonderful, wonderful product. But I don't want one.

Speaking of great products, apparently the best deal going is to be a rich person in Switzerland. The Swiss cantons are constitutionally able to negotiate individual tax deals with non-Swiss citizens. So, the founder of Ikea lives in Switzerland, as do Michael Schumacher, some French dude named "Johnny Hallyday"(who was separated at birth from Bonaduce), as well as a bunch of others. Interestingly, they may only be non-Swiss. That is generating some (predictable) irritation among the Swiss, who think that even the very wealthy need to pay taxes.

Speaking of the rich living among us, apparently Edgardo Alfonzo's $6.5 million mansion in Queens is for sale. It seems that Little Neck, Queens is not known for its mansions. The place may be a real steal. The price is already cut from $8 million, and the house has:
In the basement, in Met colors of blue and orange, there is a batting cage, which is just off the home theater and down the hall from the pink marble spa and the full-service exercise room. There are five large bedrooms and six bathrooms, one in sparkling white and gold onyx. And outside there are a swimming pool, a hot tub and several expansive limestone terraces.

In another example of someone not getting it, the Germans are using their time in the European Union's presidency to push all of Europe to standardize laws against denying the holocaust. The Germans want it to be a three year prison sentence for people who deny the holocaust, and identical in all 27 member states. That is repugnant to me as an American, and I think will probably be a non-starter for the Brits. After all, living with the First Amendment, we see that people with stupid, fringey opinions like this are marginalized by open debate. They seem to gain strength when they are not engaged.

Meanwhile, in the United States, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Detainee Affairs proved that he is an asshole. He did this by indicating that he was "dismayed" that lawyers at many top American law firms have represented detainees at Guantanamo Bay. He also indicated that their corporate clients should pull their business from these firms. You know it is an asshole point when Alberto Gonzalez is able to understand how our system of justice works. Gonzalez said, “Good lawyers representing the detainees is the best way to ensure that justice is done in these cases.” Exactly Mr. Attorney General. Exactly. By the way, Stimson is a George Mason law graduate. They must be so proud.

I realize that many people are not required to go through a pre-marriage counseling event like pre-Cana for Catholics. L and I thought pre-Cana was sort of silly, but we had been together for ten years by then. Anyway, the Times published a short(ish) list of questions to ask before you get married that is really pre-Cana in fifteen questions:
1) Have we discussed whether or not to have children, and if the answer is yes, who is going to be the primary care giver?
2) Do we have a clear idea of each other’s financial obligations and goals, and do our ideas about spending and saving mesh?
3) Have we discussed our expectations for how the household will be maintained, and are we in agreement on who will manage the chores?
4) Have we fully disclosed our health histories, both physical and mental?
5) Is my partner affectionate to the degree that I expect?
6) Can we comfortably and openly discuss our sexual needs, preferences and fears?
7) Will there be a television in the bedroom?
8) Do we truly listen to each other and fairly consider one another’s ideas and complaints?
9) Have we reached a clear understanding of each other’s spiritual beliefs and needs, and have we discussed when and how our children will be exposed to religious/moral education?
10) Do we like and respect each other’s friends?
11) Do we value and respect each other’s parents, and is either of us concerned about whether the parents will interfere with the relationship?
12) What does my family do that annoys you?
13) Are there some things that you and I are NOT prepared to give up in the marriage?
14) If one of us were to be offered a career opportunity in a location far from the other’s family, are we prepared to move?
15) Does each of us feel fully confident in the other’s commitment to the marriage and believe that the bond can survive whatever challenges we may face?

And that's what was in the New York Times.

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