DAILY BRIEFING
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Aug. 23 - Note: I'm having email problems. I don't know what's wrong. I'm not always receiving mail people have sent me and I've found not all my outbound mail is getting out. I normally respond to every single email I get, from everyone, no matter what, period. But I can't respond to mail I'm not getting, and some of my responses don't seem to be getting through. If you've sent me something and haven't received a response, please try again. Or forgive me and move on. Either way.

Attrition

I haven't had any problems receiving notices from various registrars and web hosts informing me that three of my web sites are expiring. GregNagan.com, FiveMinuteIliad.com, and 5MinuteIliad.com, all of which resolve to the same outdated website, stand on the brink of extinction. I'm going to let them die. I won't even urge you to go have a look before the site disappears—there's no there there. My only there, these days, is here.

This Moron for Hire

This is not a joke. I need work. More accurately, I need money, but since I haven't found anyone willing to throw piles of money at me for doing nothing, I'm perfectly willing to earn it. I'm freelancing on a couple of projects right now, but that's not quite enough. No reasonable offer in the greater Copenhagen area will be refused. I'm not just a writer (some would say I'm not even a writer). In the past, I've worked as a janitor, watermelon packer, short-order cook, political hack, marble floor waxer, network administrator, dishwasher, half-assed journalist, government food distributor, perfume salesman, PR writer, theatrical producer, breakfast cook, camp counselor, and printing press grunt. I'm still willing and able to do any or all of these things (although I wasn't a very good perfume salesman). And remember, I'm immigrant scum: no work is beneath me.

My dream job would be fixing the Danish subtitles on The Simpsons (among other programs) for channels 3 and 3+. Danes who don't speak English must be baffled by the popularity of The Simpsons, because the subtitles kill it. They're horrendous. Whoever's doing them is obviously working from ear, rather than a script, and obviously has a pretty bad ear.

The same is true for Heksene fra Warren Manor and Alle Elsker Raymond, but those shows don't seem to suffer as badly for it. Probably because they've got less to lose.

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My X-Box has helped me out a lot this summer. There've been a lot of stressful times at which it gave me a terrific psychological release. I also got some quality family time by playing X-Box games online with my brother-in-law and nieces.

I don't deny I got a little over-involved with it sometimes. I can remember several mornings at Hvidovre Hospital when I'd gone in to visit Trine and couldn't help but tell her about whatever recent moves I'd made with my Madden franchise.

"Donovan McNabb went down with a knee injury," I told her on one such visit. "Jake DelHomme was backing him up—man, he stepped in and threw for four-hundred yards his first game in! Oh—and I found a way to re-sign my offensive coordinator!"

Trine stared at me blankly. There she was, shacked up in the hospital with a complicated pregnancy, an IV hooked up to her arm, fetal monitors strapped to her belly, and her husband is telling her... what, exactly?

Like I said, I don't deny I got over-involved once in a while. But for the most part this summer our X-Box has been like a loyal, reliable friend. It was something I could turn to when things were tough, scary, or just plain annoying. It helped me shut down my mind and relax. I was obviously using it as an escape—and in that respect it was at least superior to my other preferred modes of escape, most of which come in bottles.

So I had to giggle a little when I came across this article over the weekend.

You can read it for yourself, but if you don't want to bother, here's the peroration:

So I stand before you a 30-year-old freak, someone who is a little less ashamed of himself than he was when he started this column. I realize where this hop in my step comes from and why John Madden Football continues to be such a touchstone in my life.

The thing is, a lot of you out there know exactly the feeling Iím talking about. Sometimes, itís good to be a freak.

I read bits of the column aloud to Trine as she fed our daughter Saturday afternoon. The subtext of my reading wasn't lost on her: lots of grown men really enjoy John Madden Football games. At the same time, I was scrupulous about pointing out that it wasn't a problem for me. I wasn't addicted or anything. It was just something I did in whatever little free time I could muster. An innocent past-time. Doesn't affect my real life. And so on.

I blew my own cover just a few hours later.

I'd been complaining for a couple of days about a bit of rough skin on my thumb. I have pretty thick callouses on my big toes, and I was afraid the same sort of thing was going to start happening to my thumbs.

"It's just weird," I explained, showing the chapped, dry skin to Trine. "It's been like this for a couple of days. I have no idea what it comes from."

"Weird," she agreed.

"Yeah," I said.

Three or four hours after I'd read her that frivolous little column about the poor man with the Madden addiction, Trine announced she was going to take a nap. Molli was sleeping, so I'd just have to keep an eye on her while Trine slept.

"Great," I said. "I'll just kick back and play a little Madden."

"You do that," she said sweetly.

I set up the X-Box and loaded the game while Trine moved in and out of the living room in preparation for her nap.

I suddenly yelped in pain.

"What's wrong?" she asked.

"This damn thumb thing," I complained. "I don't know if I can play until it heals. I mean, the callous is right where my thumb hits the button."

"Mm," Trine said with an accusatory smile. She was judicious enough not to say the thing that didn't need saying.

So I'm going to be cutting back on my Madden gaming for a while. I kind of have to anyway—I need to spend some time researching for this year's fantasy football draft...

Bean Report

We're beginning to learn how to exhaust Molli when we want her to sleep and how to keep her more or less content when she's awake. We're also learning to interpret her various cries, grunts, and whimpers. These are inexact sciences and we've still got a lot of learning to do, but we're making progress.

We've discovered, for example, that we can buy ourselves three to five hours of peace by changing Molli's diaper, serving her vitamins, bathing her, drying her, combing her hair, feeding her, then burping her until she falls asleep. It's not the kind of routine you want to do more than once a day, but it's a nice way to buy ourselves a good chunk of sleep at night. We need at least one good chunk, because nights have become a little hellish.

It's obviously much harder on Trine, who needs to feed Molli several times each night. We've learned that I can persuade Molli to go a little longer between night-time feedings by taking her out of her lift when she begins to make her hungry murmurs and letting her sleep on my chest. This can calm her for an hour, sometimes even longer, and I've learned that I can trust myself to fall asleep with her on my chest without rolling over in my sleep and smothering her. When she doesn't want to lie on my chest, she's sometimes content to lay beside me. I enjoy that first of all because it's easier to fall asleep with someone beside you rather than on top of you (something women probably learn a lot sooner than men), and secondly because when I wake up and open my eyes the first thing I see are the beautiful baby-blues of my daughter staring straight at me. Last night I even woke up once to find her smiling at me.

How can I wake up to a smile from that face and feel anything but joy?

The PC Paradox

This is weird: a recent Cherokee ban on same-sex marriages. This is one of many examples of why Political Correctness is a bad idea. Do you respect the glorious ancient culture of the Cherokee nation? Or does gay marriage trump that? If you want to remain a card-carrying zealot of Political Correctness, you're going to have to make a choice. Native American culture or gay marriage? Which trumps which?

Almanackal Rush

I've wasted too much time already today. Here's a quick and dirty rundown on this date in history:

In 1305, Scottish patriot William Wallace was hanged, drawn, and quartered in London. (If you're curious about what that means, here's Cecil.)

Ninety years ago today, Japan declared war on Germany.

On this date in 1921, Feisal I was installed as King of Iraq.

One this date in 1927 Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti were executed in Massachusetts. Their guilt is still disputed.

Sixty-five years ago today (in 1939), Joachim von Ribbentrop and Josef Stalin signed a non-aggression pact, allowing Germany to attack Poland and the USSR to invade Finland without fears of reprisal. Exactly three years later, the Battle of Stalingrad began. (The battle of Stalingrad was fought by Germans and Russians, in case the irony was lost on you.) Moral: secret wartime pacts with evil conquering bastards aren't any more reliable in the real world than they are in a game of Risk.

Today is the birthday of River Phoenix (1970), Shelley Long (1949), Rick Springfield (1949), Barbara Eden (1934), Mark Russell (1932), Gene Kelly (1912), and Louis XVI (1754).

It's Liberation Day in both Laos and Romania.

Happy Monday!

© 2004, The Moron's Almanac™

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