Second Effort

Another shitty sign of the times
February 24, 2009, 10:18 pm
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From 538.

There has generally not been much of a relationship between alcohol purchases and changes in GDP — the correlation is essentially zero. Nor have alcohol purchases historically been any kind of lagging or leading indicator.

But something was very, very different in the fourth quarter of 2008. Sales of alcohol for off-premises consumption were down by 9.3 percent from the previous quarter, according to the Commerce Department. This is absolutely unprecedented: the largest previous drop had been just 3.7 percent, between the third and fourth quarters of 1991.

Beer accounts for almost all of the decrease, with revenues off by almost 14 percent. Wine and spirits were much more stable, with sales volumes declining by 1.6 percent and 0.9 percent respectively.

Now, there are several plausible explanations for this. Alcohol sales — but particularly beer — had been on something of a hot streak prior to the 4Q, so perhaps there was some reversion to the mean. Perhaps people are substituting Michelob and Coors for more expensive microbrews like Alpha King and Dogfish Head. (This is unpatriotic, by the way, since all the macrobrews are now owned by foreign-based multinational conglomerates. Stimulate your country — and your tastebuds!).

I just think that blows. And because we’re all feeling so great about the world, I thought I would share.

Let’s go to the stats
January 15, 2009, 8:17 pm
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This first day in a week that I didn't wake up to a driveway full of snow, this is what I got instead.

This first day in a week that I didn't wake up to a driveway full of snow, this is what I got instead.

In other record-breaking news, I bowled a 179 last night.

The Audacity of Hops
January 13, 2009, 2:48 pm
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He goes light on the hops to avoid a bitter taste and instead goes heavy on the alcohol, upping the percentage from 8% in his last batch to 9% in honor of the new year.

Rahm the Shocker
November 7, 2008, 4:17 pm
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Four years ago I was in a deep funk. I wasn’t convinced anyone could right the ship that is America. It took an amazing amount of ignorance and fear to re-elect that rotten fuck. Sadly, it took another four years of his ineptitude for this country to realize that fear and loathing had crept back to the pinnacle of the political world.
I was watching one of the lesser-known (Read: not Jesse or Al) civil rights leaders, former mayor of Atlanta Andrew Young, on Colbert last night and he summed it up pretty well for me:

“People rejected fear and decided they were going to have faith in America. He awakened the faith that all of us want to have.”

For clarity’s sake, lets establish some language here other than Republicans and Democrats. Because I think that devisive line isn’t so clear after Tuesday. Let’s just say there were people who believed the gospel of the W and his evil handlers. They ate it up. They swallowed, too. Then there are those that were a bit more cynical. We said, whoa, hold up, let’s think about this thing. We gave Bush a chance to bring us together after 9-11. It seemed like the right thing at the time, lets unite behind this guy. He took advantage of us all and when we began to spit his vile bullshit out, he and his swallowers called we spitters un-American.

Aside from the asinine decision-making and pretzel-choking going on in the White House over the last eight years, that’s what made it so miserable for the left; if you questioned, if you spoke out, you weren’t patriotic. We realized how ridiculous the argument against us was at the time, but in the years since too many people began to believe it.

Bush will rightfully be judged a victim of the horrific terrorist attacks that opened his presidency. Unlike the innocent, however, he was a victim because he chose to be. He bought the fear and loathing first, then he peddled it to the masses. He will be judged a victim, but in my humble opinion he partook in the subsequent crimes on humanity.

The expectations now levied on President Elect Obama seem unfair to me. I’m right there hoping with the most desperately optimistic, but the swallowers were right when they said rhetoric isn’t going to get the job done. It is clear, however, that Obama has inspired a great many Americans. And like JFK, he will ask for us to rise to the occasion rather than sitting back to judge the government’s shortcomings. I HOPE we have an answer.

Five Dollar Footlongs?

Five Dollar Footlongs?

And on the lighter side, I leave with this picture of Obama’s first hire, Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel. The West Wing character Josh Lyman was based on Emanuel, which in my mind is a beautiful thing. And if you need more reason to believe in him, his unfortunate finger disfigurement is a direct result of his high school job at Arby’s. American Roast Beef, Yes Sir!

On the occasion of my turning old
September 17, 2008, 9:53 pm
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In a few short hours I will enter the final year of my 20’s. Sept. 18. My Birthday. Twenty-fucking-nine. I know, in the long run that’s not really old. But at the very least I have passed the halfway point to my first heart attack. My grandfather had his first heart attack at 28. My dad had me at 28. While we could debate the similarities of those two happenings in Nowski lore, I choose to overlook that coincidence and focus on the fact that I haven’t accomplished either to this point.

Speaking of Dad, there’s a story from my actual birth day that warrants publication. There are plenty of little, lets call them quirks or nuances, to my dad’s personality. But I think this one is evidence of just how witty and cool the old man can be.

Mom cranked me out at a hospital in Oelwein, IA that was in some way afilliated with the Catholic church. Because I can get longwinded sometimes and chase away readers, I’ll give you the short background that mom was raised in the Episcopal church and Dad spent some time bouncing around Catholic schools while trying to avoid flunking or being killed in inner city Chicago. Neither had practiced any religion since getting married. I came along to spoil the fun about eight years later.

So as they are filling out the birth certificate (APB3 4 LIFE), the nuns that keep shit kosher (yeah, I know) at the hospital first have a brief argument with Dad about the official time. It was 2:58 or 2:59 in the p.m. and Dad lobbied for 3 straight up, just for simplicity’s sake, I think. They insisted it be to the minute.

Then comes the biggie. “What religion is he?” the nuns ask, batting their sexy eyelashes. Or so I imagine they did. I mean, nuns in Oelwein probably don’t look like Julie Andrews, but they’ve still got that dirty thing going on and use it to the fullest extent of the law. Skanky wenches that they are.

You’re thinking that I built this up too much for the one liner that it is. And maybe you’re right. But it says a lot about the open mind my dad is CAPABLE of having when he isn’t just out to pick a fight with me or my mom. It says a lot about how my parents raised me; why I turned out so cynical. And why I’m so glad I am theirs.

He replied, “I don’t know, he hasn’t told me yet.”

The nuns, they were not pleased.

Because I can no longer resist
September 2, 2008, 9:30 pm
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I’ve had my eye on her for a while. Sleek, svelt and a little ticklish. We met at the mall a couple times. I got to run my fingers over her ivory skin. Then, when I finally had the gumption to bring her home, I came right out and exposed myself. But I couldn’t just tap that right away. I had to let the tension build a little. For a week or so now we’ve just flirted. And I was right to wait. Because now it feels even better.

I’ve been grumbling about the old girl just about as long as I can remember. Sara knew I was fed up, and I think she understands, but she’s a little more emotional about it than me. She had more invested. I’m ready to cut all ties, and that’s what this post is all about.

We got a new iMac. This is the first time I’ve done more than type an e-mail or web address on this smooth little bitch and goddamn if it isn’t the best typographical experience of my life.

There’s plenty of bells and whistles. The screen is probably two and a half times bigger than the iBook we’ve been squinting at since Sara and I moved in together five years ago. Porn loads in microseconds despite our outdated ethernet cable. We went all out and purchased extra memory and Microsoft Office, so there’s actually a decent word processing program, eliminating the only real drawback of Macs. I’m no computer geek. I don’t need anything spectacular and I’ll never build my own. This baby has everything I’ve ever wanted in a home computer.

But there’s a bonus. This keyboard is fucking Nirvana. It’s better than that. It’s Kurt Cobain with a needle in his arm hammering away at Dorothy, who’s wearing only her ruby slippers, in a field of poppies with the army of flying monkeys cheering them on. Zeppelin provides the soundtrack.

These things are going to save people’s lives. Those that don’t sit at a computer for a living have laughed at the carpal tunnel stuff. I used to. But that shit is real, and I was well on my way. These new keyboards are so smooth people are buying dozens from Apple now for fear they will try and improve on them down the line and fuck them up. I love it so much I am seriously considering investing in one to take to work.

That’s all boring. But if you have used one you can testify. Can I get a hell yeah?

The old lady just walked in and busted me fooling around with her girlfriend. “Are you writing porn?” she said. Not yet, but with this lovely piece of ass at my fingertips, the sky’s the limit.

April 23, 2008, 4:25 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

I feel compelled to post on weekly basis. But its been quite some time since I felt like I was obligated. What momentous event has broken me? Forced me to write. Well, it all goes back to about four hours ago when an elderly man ventured where no man has gone before. That’s right, today I was violated.

See, for the last couple days I have felt like I had to pee. Like every minute of every day, including the second after I shake off and re-tuck Lil’ Chuck Norris. I pushed fluids and tried to be patient. But after about 48 hours of worrying that my junk’s ability to function could be hinging on this, I called the clinic and got me an appointment.

Now, I am a pretty recognizeable figure in my community. And I don’t have to tell anyone what they automatically assume when you are a 20-something dude with peeing issues. So everyone looked down on me for the first 15 minutes of my visit until they could run my piss through the mystical whizzinator that tells them I haven’t caught anything from the high school volleyball team.

That’s when he started to flirt with me. “You’re the sports editor, right?” “Where are you from originally?” “And what does your wife do.”

Mixed in with this flurry of small talk are the staple questions. Yes, Chuck can still salute. No, Chuck hasn’t been wandering without his leash. And when I’m not busy staring directly at the guy’s fingers imagining just how wide they are and which one he’ll use, I am feeling sorry for him. He’s doing his job, uncomfortably dancing around that fact that not only is he about to get the best look at my asshole anyone has had in 26 years, but he’s diving right in that hairy sum’bitch. Then he finally comes out with it: “Well, I’m sorry to say this, but I think I’m going to have to do a rectal.”

“I knew we were heading that direction,” I responded.

I have to say, this is as adult as I have ever been in my life. Sure, I considered running, but this wasn’t about me. This was about Lil’ Chuck. Am I willing to sacrifice his well being to avoid a few short seconds of unpleasantness? Well, maybe. But seriously, what about the wife? She can’t be denied the one thing that makes her truly happy (other than ice cream and being smarter than other people). And what about all the wives that follow? I had to take one for the team.

So he continued to banter with me, even delving into politics. “How much did Hillary win by last night?” he asked. And just before the moment of the truth, he made sure I knew he was a republican. Almost in the same breath as the phrase “lubed up.” It didn’t matter how he actually phrased it after that. All I heard was, “Drop you drawers, turn around and bend over, bitch.”

I want to be clear in stating that I am not accusing the guy of being less than professional. He did what he had to do and tried his best to put me at ease. I was just keenly aware of some of the more awkward details. So there I am, pigeon-toed for his pleasure, as he wades into the jungle.

His utterances:

  1. “Ah, there we go.”
  2. “Are you having a lot of pain with this?”
  3. “Hmm, just a little soft.”

My responses:

  1. “Whoa, sh….”
  2. “Well, it isn’t comfortable.”
  3. “What does that mean.”

And then I wiped four pounds of vaseline out of my ass while he watched. It was, I suppose, exactly as I would have imagined having something shoved up my butt. It was exactly like losing your virginity. Except totally sober and way more awkward after the fact.

So the good news is he doesn’t think I have cancer. He dispatched that theory, a little too frivolously, because of my age. But he gave me a prescription for a drug called Cipro, thinking that I have prostatitis, an inflammation of the prostate. Mom, if you made it this far, you can read about it here.

If it doesn’t clear up I am to call him back. I am not worried yet and readers of this blog shouldn’t be either. But, if I do have cancer, I am going to resume smoking immediately, I just want that to be clear.

So I went out and picked up the prescription and returned to my desk. And if the vaseline in my crack wasn’t enough reminder of my run in with the true meaning of the middle finger, I had an e-mail from someone completely unbeknownst to my situation waiting in my inbox.

It helped put me at ease for a few short minutes. As I sat here, rehashing the details in my head, I began to hear his voice. Words like rectal, lubed, republican…they resounded in my brain. And then I really heard his voice. He was at the front desk, talking to my wife about some Knights of Columbus bullshit here in town. It was as if seeing me and having his finger up my ass reminded this guy that he needed to stop by the newspaper office.

I slowly stood up and peeked over the edge of my cubicle. Not enough to see the finger in question, but enough to confirm the identity of the of the first man with whom I had become intimately, physically familiar. And all I can think now is, I wish I had walked by him and winked.