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Mystery Mansion

Thursday
August 2, 2007

My deepest sympathies go out to the victims and families of those impacted by the bridge collapse in Minneapolis, MN yesterday. The Sunshine Skyway bridge collapse in 1980 was more than 20 years in the past by the time I moved to Tampa in April 2001, but people who lived through it in the area still talk about it today with a reverence that only the worst of disasters bring.

In reality, the most dangerous thing in travel isn't an airplane crashing or a bridge collapsing, but instead an idiot driver cutting you off or hazardous road conditions catching you off guard. I was nearly sideswiped by a red minivan on Old Nashville Highway a month or so ago; either the driver had to take a shit really bad or he/she was in a hurry to get home to see 60 Minutes. Naturally, there were no cops around to witness what happened.

Drivers in Nashville are bad in general, at least from my observations. Growing up, I heard people bitch about Nashville drivers being horrible, and I chalked that up to people always finding discontentment with traffic where they live. But in Evansville and Huntington and Tampa and Birmingham it wasn't anywhere near as bad as what I've noticed here on my return. The I-24 stretch from Nashville to Smyrna is especially a bitch. I don't enjoy driving it because, invariably it seems, I'll run into at least one bad driver on both ends of my journey.

To be sure, it could be worse: Miami is notoriously tretcherous, Atlanta is über-conjested, and in Manhattan you're best off not driving at all. But Nashville is bad as far as driver quality goes, at least from what I've seen.

It's funny when people read this page and then ask me to directly address issues on here. Sometimes it works the other way ("not for the website" is a request I've heard before... and always honored) but there were four things I was specifically asked to talk about.

1. It was Jenna who I went off on with the whole "Rummy on the Board" blow-up referenced in the last column. I left it out because it had nothing to do with Jenna; I was just frustrated with the stupid rule and lost it. If they think that's bad, they should've known me in the days before I was on Effexor XR (or Lexapro before that) and Xanax, back when I really had trouble keeping blow-ups in check. But it had nothing to do with Jenna, though I was asked to mention it on here, so now I have.

Some people talk about psychological medicine in hushed tones, like they did about cancer two generations ago. There are some people who outright don't want to hear about it. Whatever. To me, it's along the same lines of a diabetic person needing insulin. It's a medical condition that can be regulated. Put that in your pipe and smoke it, Tom Cruise.

2. Dustin seems to think that his winning streak against me in NCAA Football 08 has me upset. It doesn't. He's great at the user picks and I will have to adjust my gameplan accordingly. It sucks to lose, but he seems to think that I'm being pouty about it or something -- which is not the case. He takes a long TD pass in to go up by 17, what am I supposed to do, perform a standing backflip in celebration?

3. A couple more from Jenna: she wanted me to mention my breaking it down to "Lean Like A Cholo" by the artist Down aka Kilo. Hey, if I have to act the fool to win the room back over by doing a little crazy dance to a song, with a little hip thrusting thrown in, I'm going to do it.

4. For some reason, she also wanted me to bring up "I'm Not Ready To Make Nice" by the Dixie Chicks, which Jenna and Amy played over and over and over again a few weeks ago during a Sunday night card game. Considering that they were coming off of a record-breaking Spades loss, I suppose it fit the night appropriately.

Jenna, who told me the other night that she didn't like to read, seemed to enjoy my last column, but she prompted me to write more. "I've got seven years worth of material on there," I pointed out. She retorted that since she didn't know me back then that she wouldn't be interested in it. But I remind her now, and everyone reading this, that the most accurate hints about the future can be learned from the past.

One of these days I'll put together a list of "Greatest Articles", or perhaps a less egotistical name like "Lou's Favorites", for some of the really crazy fun stories on here. From Gasparilla to Guavaween to New Orleans, it's been a fun adventure.

That's that with that. Time for some hodgepodge.

Jenna almost always brings her dog Bubba with her when she comes to visit Dustin, which is great fun for us. We don't have any pets here, and having Bubba (a four year old small terrier) as a visiting guest dog is working out quite well. I'm not sure how well Furious George (the Curious George stuffed animal that I think Snapper Dan Man brought over here one time and left behind) will handle further attacks from Bubba, but the entertainment value is well worth whatever risk Furious faces.

It thrilled me to no end to hear that the FBI raided the home of corrupt (in my opinion) U.S. Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK), who has been under investigation "for possible corruption based on his relationship with a wealthy contractor." He's been in the Senate since 1968, and he is yet another shining example of why we need term limits in Congress.

Mystery Mansion is a vastly under-appreciated board game from the 1980s.

Mystery Mansion is quite possibly the greatest board game that most people have never heard of before. Shockingly, despite it being a Parker Brothers release, there is little about it online. Even Wikipedia doesn't have info on it, instead having a listing for an old computer game of the same title in its place. "Oops, you've been waylaid, no clue here!" is sure to provoke an instant laugh from my bro Matt or I in the proper setting. I've referenced it before on this site, as seen here.

I like Drew Carey as the choice for the next host of The Price Is Right. Replacing Bob Barker is like replacing Joe Paterno at Penn State, or any football coach coming in at Alabama; there is an incredibly high standard to be matched. Carey has a quick enough wit where he should be able to adapt to situations on the fly. I have to admit that I wonder how former ESPN anchor Dan Patrick would have fared in that position. But in the copycat world of TV, comedians hosting game shows in the latest thing, and with Carey having such a good performance on the forthcoming Power of Ten show (also on CBS), they brought him on board for TPiR.

I'm testing out possibilities for trying out Google's AdWords radio program. They're offering a $400 credit for ads running by the end of the month. The catch is that you have to pay for the professional production service they offer via third parties, but that can be acquired for $100 or less, and for me that's worth it to give this a test spin. I'm looking into putting together an ad for the Karg Boys and seeing how that goes.

Work has kept me busy (I'm burning the midnight oil in staying up to write this) but it's been a series of valuable learning experiences. It's nice to slip into expert mode when it comes to research or IT type work, but since I still have so much to learn about many different things, it's hardly an ego inflating experience overall. But Adenus is a great company to work for, and so far so good with the Smyrna gig.

It's time for me to get pro-active and buy some replacement bulbs for Matt's tanning bed. Where the bulbs are in place I'm getting tan, much tanner ironically than I ever was in Florida (save for the spray-on tans that I had), but there are some odd drop-offs where I go from light brown tan to almost pasty white from my back to my sides. Because I burn so easy, it's been a gradual process to build up to a base tan, but I'm getting there, even if it's on a slowly but surely clip.

Exhaustion and Tizanidine are overcoming me. My neck pain has returned after a brief hiatus; the mouthguard I've been wearing when I go to bed has been great at alleviating the throbbing pain in my neck (believed to be caused by grinding my teeth in my sleep) which triggers migraines, but unfortunately the pain has returned in the past few days. I haven't had a migraine since Thanksgiving 2006, and I'd rather keep it that way, even if it means Baclofen and Tizanidine helping to make that a reality.

Last-second addition: my buddy Adam Kelley found this link about NFL players who would make good pro wrestlers. Look for "Draft King" making a cameo in the comments section. As F.F. Woodycooks might say, that guy and I have one thing in common: ME!

And, with that, I'm going to use my natural drowsiness and play the nap card.

(If the previous two sentences didn't make sense, you need to school up on Mr. Show.)


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