Sounds painless enough, but you have to understand that we have a hate/hate relationship. He hates me...and I hate the fact that I have to give him free reign of my blog for a day.
Well, maybe it's not quite as bad as that, but suffice it to say that sarcasm and insults flow freely between us...in e-mail, txt msgs, and of course...in person. We have to clarify statements of sincerity by prefacing them with, "But seriously...no, seriously......" because those instances are so rare.
Being a believer in freedom of expression, and honoring my bets, I assured Matthew that I would not alter his post in any way. So all opinions, typos, lame jokes, and misused punctuation are his and his alone.
Truth be told (ouch, here it comes), he's a pretty good guy, and knows at least a little something about almost everything. And about some things, he knows a lot. We bounce questions and ideas off of each other. "What's the plural of 'analysis'?" he'll ask me. And, "Teach me all about computer geekery," I'll beg of him.
He's a constructive critic when I ask him to be. And he's funnier than you. (I'm not sure if I'm saying that because it's true, or because I want to put added pressure on him to write a good entry...because he saw this intro before sending me his post. Probably a little of both.)
In case you were curious...if I would've won the bet, he would have had to wear my Lions jersey during our draft party, and pay for all of my beer. Oh, all the microbrews I'm missing out on!
So for today, Ton-Fifty-ONE belongs to Matthew.
Please come back tomorrow. I beg of you.
— • — • —
During the past week a cold snap has overtaken Wisconsin, and from what they tell me, pretty much the eastern half of the nation as well. Maybe cold is too kind of a word. It's not the kind of cold that just makes you button your coat all the way to the top and shiver just a bit before continuing on your way. No, it's the kind of cold that makes you question Darwin and his theory of evolution. Surely there has to be a greater power at hand making decisions for the human race, because there's no way that we would evolve to live in the type of climate where taking one step outside results in a headache. If you're unlucky enough to stand outside for longer than 5 minutes, you run the chance of frostbite... over 200,000 years of evolution — and still people can literally freeze in a matter of minutes. Nature, on its own, could never be so cruel to let an animal live in a region they are so obviously unsuited for.
The deep freeze though, does have its benefits. It has a way of clearing the mind and prioritizing the important things. When you venture outside and the air temperature is minus 10 degrees Fahrenheit, you do not have the time for anything but the task at hand. You help the person who's car won't start or you donate those unused coats to a charity. The task at hand is to stay warm and help others stay warm. Your mind doesn't cloud with frivolous thoughts that seem important in warmer climes. In a teaser for Simon Schama's new documentary, "The American Future: A History", a woman from Texas rails against immigrants from Mexico, stating they were sneaking into the United States just to commit crimes and spread disease. Commit crimes and spread disease. To me, it sounds like that woman could use some frigid weather to clear her mind. When the temperature is so cold that taking a deep breath is impossible, fantasizing about the perceived evils of a people is not a priority.
The bitter cold is also contradictory. As uncomfortable as it can be to stand outside, the sheer beauty of the uniformly colored, barren landscape and the deep stillness and quiet that encompasses it can be strangely enticing. Maybe it's the sense of a new beginning. When it's so quiet that you actually believe you hear your breath crystalizing mere seconds after you exhale, and the land is as blank as a new sheet of paper, its hard not to believe that this is just nature's way of starting over. Anything seems possible when the mercury has nowhere to go but up and the terrain is so completely devoid of life that any sign of another living thing hints of all that is possible when spring finally emerges.
Maybe then this latest deep freeze is just nature's way of ushering out the national nightmare that has engulfed us all these last eight years and providing a clean slate for Tuesday. All of the atrocities committed in the name of the people of the United States... an unnecessary war, a climate on the verge of a tipping point, the human rights violations, an economy in ruins.... Is there anything we need more than a complete break from the past and a chance to start over? As the cold weather rolls east towards our nation's capitol, nature is giving us her answer. Wipe the slate clean... a new beginning is here. Welcome back America, I missed you.