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Monday, April 24, 2006

The Birthing Class Conundrum

I need to start by making this point. I am elated by the fact that my wife and I are going to have a baby (due date July 10th). Having built the last of the furniture for the baby's room this weekend (displaying what I hope to be the last outward expression of rage at an inanimate object for quite some time), I am looking forward to the day when we welcome our son to the world.
Which brings me to child birth education classes. I am in favor of this type of education, but what I thought would be an informative way to bring both partners into the birthing process is quickly becoming the Death March of the Cervix.
For six consecutive Mondays, Leslie and I are going to classes that last about 2 1/4 hours each. Tonight is week four. While I can't fault the information that is shared at these sessions, the length of time devoted to the discussion of the process of delivering a baby is roughly half a day I'll never have back.
I have a little bit of an advantage in that I used to do anesthesia billing and have a unique knowledge of pain control techniques. In addition, I have two children by my first marriage, so I've been through this before. I look forward to being there for my wife. I shall be as perfect a partner as I can possibly be, and I am of the realization that the information provided in these classes will be valuable to her. Having said that, I'm slowly getting bored.
I don't think it's the instructor's fault. She has tons of resources at her disposal, and she's presenting them as well as can be expected, but does all of this really have to last for over 13 hours of total time? The class is slowly reaching the point where it's ceasing to be informative and is slowly morphing into a review session. Three weeks of review sessions!
For Leslie's sake, I'll persevere. As for me, after the completion of this, I don't want to see another poster of an effacing cervix for as long as I live.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Member # 3

It's official. There's no stopping this thing now.

I'd like to urge the internet community at large to please welcome Shaman Sam Morningstar. Sam is a philosophical hellion. Were it not for his quiet demeanor and lack of need for a spotlight, he would crush lesser minds in his path like a beer can under my size 12's. The Shaman now brings his considerable gifts for analysis to The Spencer File. Greet him warmly, but please, don't squeeze the Shaman.

Let The Games Begin

I make no secret that I'm a hockey fan. Living in Wisconsin, which is, was and always will be Packer country, being a hockey fan is something of an anomaly. Granted, we have the University of Wisconsin, which pulled off an unprecedented two-fer this year by winning both the men's and women's NCAA hockey titles, but college hockey just isn't the same as the good old NHL.

I grew up in Philadelphia, which is Flyers country. I stopped rooting for the Flyers a few years ago when I finally realized that their GM, Bob Clarke ("Bobby", in his past life as a dirty hockey player) was ethically challenged on many fronts, and unapologetic about it. The Flyers haven't won a Stanley Cup since 1975, when Clarke was their captain, and they never will as long as Clarke and Ed Snider, their president-by-proxy courtesy of the Comcast Corporation, are pulling the strings.

It's been a relief being a fan of ice hockey in general, instead of being a fan of the Flyers and believing anything their marketing people spit out at their fan base. Thanks to the NHL Center Ice package, I hear a variety of announcers and see many more players play in the span of a year than the good ol' days of just watching Flyers broadcasts.

Which brings me to today, the eve of the most wonderful time of the year for a hockey fan. The NHL playoffs start tomorrow.

Due to a lockout by the NHL owners last year, I haven't seen an NHL playoff game in 22 months, when the Tampa Bay Lightning walked off the ice with the last Stanley Cup championship. The NHL is a different animal now. Once bogged down by defense-first trapping hockey that made the typical game look as slow and as painfully uninteresting as a soccer match in American Samoa, there are now two-line passes, limited handling of the puck by goalies, and a premium on skating, passing and scoring, which is what hockey ought to be in the first place.

While Tampa Bay is in the playoffs again this year, they are not a favorite to repeat. Their goaltending has changed, and they made it into the playoffs after the 81st game in an 82-game schedule. My favorite to win it all has to be the Detroit Red Wings. With new coach Mike Babcock, the Red Wings crushed just about everyone on their way to the best regular season record in the league, and they shows no signs of letting their foot off the gas. I personally will be routing for any team from Canada, a country I hope to live in one day after America gets through destroying itself under the policies of George Bush.

If you can find a bar that carries the NHL, this is the time of year where you see the best the NHL has to offer. If you can't, drop by my place and explore the magic world of commercials for Tim Horton's and Canadian Tire without ever leaving Milwaukee. If we're lucky, we'll get a quadruple-overtime game that ends at 2:30 in the morning as I'm finishing my 7th dark beer of the evening (one for each period).

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

The Vulture On The Cliff

Eighteen days from today, I shall turn 40. Whenever a milestone like this is reached, it quite obviously begs for reflection, but in my current mental state of utter peace and prosperity, I don't want so much as to reflect, but to look at the many doors I've passed through in my life, close the ones I no longer have any use for and leave open the ones I hold most dear. The remainder of life's hallway contains doors not yet opened, the first of which has behind it my son, who's debut date is currently penciled in as July 10th. This may end up being a rather long post, and the reader will find out things about me that may be all at once surprising, disgusting and hilarious. Yet I feel the need to do this in order to go forward with a clear conscience. So here we go! I'll start with all the women I've known. Initials are used to protect the innocent:

To AB - My first love of my teenage years. I beg forgiveness for being an immature teenage boy and having no working knowledge of anatomy useful to a long-lasting relationship. You're a good person, I hope you're happy and I got better.

To AS - I dated you out of desperation, and I now laugh at our relationship. You were a hypochondriac and (if YOU are to be believed) a telekinetic. In short, you're nuts! I have written songs about how nuts you were. I heard from a mutual acquaintance that you now sell real estate in California. I think that's punishment enough. Thanks for something I can always bring up and laugh at when having conversations in a bar. I am truly stunned that I crashed two cars for you. What the hell was I on?

To SB - Sorry I couldn't converse very well with you mother. I've gotten better at that too. I hope you're happy since I last saw you in 1992. I got a song out of you too, but I never play it anymore.

To EB - What the hell was THAT all about that night after the movies? Thankfully, I hope we both got over that silliness.

To SA - Timing and my own rampant immaturity were our enemies. I apologize in the strongest possible terms for being such an insufferable prick during our relationship. Forget me! Please move on to someone who deserves you brains, your sense of humor and that heart on your sleeve.

To CS - I was nowhere near ready to settle down, and you're a great person. I think about you every February 29th (the day we first met). I miss the cats and your smile.

To SB (the other one) - The one that got away, but I realize now that that's all your fault. You enjoy the music, and I'll enjoy the memories.

To RW - Best of luck with that God thing. I've since moved on to other intellectual pursuits, but thanks for letting me see the bitter and judgmental side of Catholicism up close, so I never have to go anywhere near it again for as long as I live.

To X (the first wife) - I never really loved you. You happened to be there in a vulnerable time in my life after my grandmother died, and stupid me, I thought I saw some of her traits in you. I was WAY off!! You're an inveterate slob and carry upon you a sense of entitlement that you have not earned. That letter I left you about how I needed to leave you because I feared for everyone's safety if I stayed was true, for I have never met another person more worthy of a bludgeoning in all my life than you. I left our marriage for peace of mind, I found it, your opinion matters only to you, and God help the next sucker who finds his sorry ass in the orbit of you and your insane immediate family. OH, and uh, revenge is best served cold, and here it is, for all the world to see. In spite of you, I hope the kids are well.

To Leslie - Every day I have spent with you is better than the last. I find nothing but love, humor and peace by your side. I am honored to be your husband, and I shall be more honored to be the father of our son. Beauty is both spiritual AND physical, and my world turns all around you. My search is over. You inspire me every day to attain better heights for the two (soon to be three) of us, and I'll never get tired of doing just that. I love you.

Now, we move on to friends, past and present:

To CY - How's Florida? I hope you and your family are doing well. At least one beer I'll have over my birthday weekend will be to you, oh drinking buddy of my ever-distant past. I miss the hockey games, the Michael's Deli hoagies and Jane's Addiction through the Appalachian Mountains of Pennsylvania. Stay well, and stop playing golf. It makes you look Republican.

To CD - The best musician I know. I hope your family (ALL of them) is doing fantastic. I miss your input when I write something ludicrous.

To TW - If JetBlue recovers, get yourself out to Milwaukee. I'll try to make it back to Pennsylvania one day in the future without throwing up. Thanks for being there in the best and worst of times. And, in memoriam, thanks to your parents and their house, the scene of more than one "February of Death". I'll talk to you soon, my friend!

To SW - Dude, pick one e-mail and stay with it! I know you're in greater Atlanta, other than that, I can't find your nomadic ass (or my waitress) with a geiger counter. Leave a comment, shoot up a flare, some goddamned thing!

To SG - Stay safe in greater Atlanta. I know you have friends over in Iraq and that you're really into GW's interpretation of America. I'm not, but I don't hold it against you. We've been through one Bowl & Driver League too many to quit now. Hope all the girls (including WG) are doing great. RAAAMMMOOONNNEE!

To PK - I never get replies from your e-mail address anymore, but thanks for opening my eyes to the secrets of true music and spirituality. You're a man of few words, but all of them carry wisdom and gravitas. Your contributions to me as a human being, as far as I am concerned, are of paramount importance, and I thank you.

To DH - I hope Vienna finds you well. It's been far too long since I signed on at the same time as you, but you're not forgotten. I hope A is doing well too.

To TH65 - Hey man! I haven't really spoken to you since we saw Robyn Hitchcock that night in Milwaukee. I hope Michigan is treating you well. I'll catch up with you soon.

To ?? - Thanks for joining the blog. The first post was just great. As soon as I turn a profit from this, I'll send you a check. Now that you have your first posting out of the way, when can I expect a gig in your town?

To MASA and all the erstwhile denizens of Club LeGrow - You people are just spectacular. You have made my stay in Milwaukee a great one so far, and with your blessings, I'll stay here for the rest of my life. I always anticipate the next get-together with great expectations, and I'm never let down.

I have no positive comments reserved for my immediate family, with the exception of my two sons. You are all a bunch of traitors and I hope you and X are happy, for you deserve each other. I live peacefully without you, and just so you know, I'm not reserving time in my afterlife for you either. I had enough of you while I've been alive, the only relatives I treasure are all dead and those of you who are still alive truly need to take a good strong healthy dose of Shut The Fuck Up, because I'm not listening anymore and no one really gives a damned about your hurtful and judgmental opinions. And you have the nerve to call yourselves "Good people"? Where the hell do you get off? The presence of you in my life literally made me physicially ill, and there's no rule book anywhere that says I have to just sit here and suffer at your hands. Please stay right where you are, which is Far Away.

To A & N - Your dad can't be there for this special time in your life. I have no clue what anyone has told you about me, but I'm not away trying to "figure things out", and I can't attempt to reenter your lives as long as your mother stands between us. Know that I am sending money to your mother every month to attend to your needs as you grow older. While I am not allowed to share all of the new and exciting things you are discovering in your life, it is hoped that you have inherited my curiosity and thirst for knowledge. It is best that you look beyond the comments about me that are thrown around by assorted members of the family and try as best as you can to see me as a human like any other; flawed, but basically decent. I never killed anyone or stole anything in my life (except for the occasional chord progression on guitar). Sometimes, people make mistakes. You can't help who your parents are, and this situation can't be easy for you, but your father knows he loves you, and at the end of the day, that is all that should matter. I'll reserve time in the afterlife to see you if the current barriers stay in place for the rest of this life.

And so ends my first half of life screed. As I pass the midway marker in the cycle of life expectancy, I wonder about the journey ahead. I think about the welfare of Leslie and my son, now 2/3 prepared to enter the physical world. I hope for the best for my two sons of the past. Most importantly, in these challenging times, I hope we all find a way back to sanity and true freedom, instead of this paranoid dictatorship in which we now find oursevles buried.

Doors have been closed, and important doors are left open. Time has marched at that one steady pace from my own debut during the Johnson Administration. I was born into a country fighting a war, in the words of Phil Ochs, "...lost before the war began". As I turn 40, what has changed? From the murders of MLK and RFK, to Kent State, to Nixon resigning, to the Energy and Iran hostage crises, to the murder of John Lennon, to ketchup as a vegetable, from the popguns of Grenada and Kuwait, to the monumental waste of Iraq, it doesn't seem like anything has truly changed since my birth. I hope the people of this land that I live in wake up soon to the horrors of our current leadership, and decide to fight back, and not just with words, but with action.

As for me, now it's time to see what else is in my hallway......

Monday, April 10, 2006

Calling All Hookers!

Good evening! My, what a lovely audience we have here tonight. Let's give a big round of applause to our Master of Ceremonies, J.P.! Thanks for the fabulous introduction.

Now... for my first trick... er... blog, I will give insight to the inner workings of an Internet Whore Troller. In this scene I will be the Yahoo Messenger ID virgo_queengoddess and the Internet Whore Troller is lived by scotia_nova2000. Stop me if you've heard this one before:

scotia_nova2000: Hi, I am mark male 35 in canada, down on business for 4 days - april 18, . I was hoping to try somethign new, like meet a safe clean and hassle free female for intimate evening or maybe something a little hotter. I am clean safe respectful and very easy to be around. I am a professional and clean cut . but have a very naughty side mentally , if your interested. if you are will send your thoughtsHi, I am mark male 35 in canada, down on business for 4 days - april 18, . I was hoping to try somethign new, like meet a safe clean and hassle free female for intimate evening or maybe something a little hotter. I am clean safe respectful and very easy to be around. I am a professional and clean cut . but have a very naughty side mentally , if your interested. if you are will send your thou

Now generally I would just ignore such silliness, but today I felt compelled to answer:

virgo_queengoddess: what you seem to be looking for is a hooker. You should go that route. Less hassle.

Little did I know... this copy/paste master was paying attention:

scotia_nova2000: id rather the hassle - its safe clean and more interesting , it snot just the sex
scotia_nova2000: and i never evenr paye dof rit
scotia_nova2000: never paid for it
scotia_nova2000: and wont
scotia_nova2000: id rather have a nice diner and chat
scotia_nova2000: i cum off strong but really a nice converstion would be as fulfilling

Let me paraphrase... he's not just interested in sex. A lovely dinner companion would be equally invigorating. But I'm confused by something:

virgo_queengoddess: did you really just type "cum" instead of "come" and still expect me to believe that you'd be up for just a nice dinner?

I bet he has a good answer for that one:

scotia_nova2000: i have a naughty mind
scotia_nova2000: but i realy never get to explore it
scotia_nova2000: i am a curious soul

Ahhhh I see. His wife doesn't put out. Let's inquire about that:

virgo_queengoddess: your wife isn't into it, eh?
(Please note the "eh". He is Canadian afterall.)

scotia_nova2000: i am not married
scotia_nova2000: any more

SHOCKING! Wonder if that had anything to do with him trolling for internet whores?

I then ignored him. But he would not be so easily dissuaded:

scotia_nova2000: Hello , My name is George , I am 37 canadian and in Minneapolis april 18 -21
scotia_nova2000: how are you miss queen-goddess

Well! Lookee that! He has a new name and has matured by two years!

virgo_queengoddess: wow... and you're a split personality too? what a treasure!

scotia_nova2000: Your incredibly insiteful
scotia_nova2000: nice , woudl be refreshing having you accross a table enjoying a meal and conversation with

Damn! I'm so "insiteful"... I should, like, be a detective or something.

Let's wrap things up:

virgo_queengoddess: never gonna happen

scotia_nova2000: I am an aquarian
scotia_nova2000: does that explain it
scotia_nova2000: for u
scotia_nova2000: sorry i came across very rough
scotia_nova2000: i am actually clean cut safe and more reserved in person
scotia_nova2000: would you tellme about u

virgo_queengoddess: no

scotia_nova2000: my soul , no second chances
scotia_nova2000: hard on a man

virgo_queengoddess: listen, Mark/George... you're being utterly ridiculous, but if you do find a woman that will meet you then you will have indeed met the stupidest woman alive

scotia_nova2000: arnt vergos and aquarians a good match
scotia_nova2000: wow theres a brain in there
scotia_nova2000: it is george
scotia_nova2000: nice
scotia_nova2000: lets forget the sex crap
scotia_nova2000: i like the smart one called queen goddess
scotia_nova2000: ok you win
scotia_nova2000: no more pick ups
scotia_nova2000: but, your to appealing mentally to not continue
scotia_nova2000: may i say i am sorry
scotia_nova2000: an dbe so fortunate to start again on a more civil and appropriate path
scotia_nova2000: towards knowing you and an aquintence
scotia_nova2000: ?
scotia_nova2000: working hard here , some mercy is appreciated , my queen

virgo_queengoddess: you are relentless

scotia_nova2000:now that i sence you have a brain and a personality , its more appealing and i miss a conversation
scotia_nova2000: Yes i am when i feel somethign is worth persueing
scotia_nova2000: do u have a soft side some mercy for effort and persistance
scotia_nova2000: ?
scotia_nova2000: pls

virgo_queengoddess: not really... once a pig always a pig
virgo_queengoddess: often that works for me, but not in this case

scotia_nova2000: a queen with out mercy
scotia_nova2000: i am not a pig
scotia_nova2000: i just have a bad way at times when online
scotia_nova2000: its been a long time
scotia_nova2000: and separating gives some fredoms and and y way no excuse I am sorry , i am genuinely not a pig I do like sex alot but its been a while , I am sorry for me rudeness . will you forgive me
scotia_nova2000: ?
scotia_nova2000: Hell o

virgo_queengoddess: not enough begging in the world

scotia_nova2000: virgo are you home or work?
scotia_nova2000: what must i do for us to strat again

virgo_queengoddess: you should spend your energy elsewhere

scotia_nova2000: nope
scotia_nova2000: may i se eto hope i am being so persistant

truncated for repetitive begging and other bullshit... you get the idea

Damn... I let another one get away, didn't I?

Thursday, April 06, 2006


In an attempt to bring forth a new and fresh perspective to The Spencer File, I'd like to take this opportunity to welcome our first team member, "lucidoll".
Because her posts will cast a net over a wide variety of topics, and due to the fact that some of her future posts will deal with contentious familial issues, lucidoll prefers to remain anonymous. Having been a fan of her sometimes erstwhile work, I am confident that the readers of The Spencer File will enjoy her observations and her humor as much as I have. Please join me in welcoming lucidoll to the team.

J. P.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Why Congress Needs Cynthia McKinney

In the past two weeks, the blogs, mostly the racist, right-wing blogs, have been all afire about the detention of Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney of Georgia by Capitol Hill police.

The story goes something like this. Black Congresswoman in a hurry and without ID indicating she is indeed a Congresswoman, runs past a checkpoint on Capitol Hill. After being told three times to stop, the security officer grabs her by the arm. McKinney responds by identifying herself as a Congresswoman, but only after popping the guy one in the chest. Currently, the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia is deciding whether or not to press charges against McKinney for assaulting a police officer.

The Republican Party, eager to redirect attention from their gross abuses of power, have jumped all over this story. Knowing that black support of the Republican party hovers around single digits (and falling), they have nothing to lose by scapegoating a black woman by introducing a measure on the House floor indicating support for the Capitol Hill Police.

McKinney is no friend of Republicans in the House. She was voted out of her seat in 2002 after spending the previous year stating for the record on the floor of the House that the Bush administration had prior knowledge of the 9/11 attacks. Two years and a gerrymandered black Georgia congressional district later, she's back, and she's out to kick some flatfoot ass. The Republicans and - by their absense at her news conference a few days ago - some Democrats would like nothing better than to see McKinney go back to Georgia permanently.

I, personally, want her to stay in Congress until her death, and here's why.

Every kingdom needs a court jester. Ever since Jim Traficant was convicted of racketeering and bribery and thrown out of the House of Representatives, there hasn't been someone you could laugh at in the halls of Congress. Oh sure, the Republican attempts to restrict lobbying are funny based on their sheer artifice at wanting to fix a problem that they happily created, but I'm talking about theatrical funny, like a Harpo Marx or a Ringling Brothers clown funny. I miss Traficant's shouts of "Beam Me Up!" whenever he took to the podium of the House regarding a topic he cared about. What he DID care about I never did get, but ah, those were the days.

Cynthia McKinney, with her wild hair, orange outfits and unchecked paranoia, fills the void I've felt since Jim Traficant and his toupee went to minimum security. Sure, she punches cops and spins wild tales, but isn't that what makes for great theatre? People need a reason to watch C-Span, because it's certainly not that entertaining or engrossing. On most days, it's the equivalent of a box of Somonex. With McKinney's penchant for uncontrolled outbursts of delusional thought, at least to this writer, Congress is interesting again.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Subpoenas, Lies & Videotape

After all of the posturing and invective, it all came down to a videotape.

Former House Majority Leader Tom Delay announced via videotape this morning that he will be vacating his suburban Houston House seat and will not seek re-election in the fall. This is an election for which he has already won the Republican primary.

Was this because he is going into the private sector? No, because people under indictment usually aren't at the top of the list for private sector jobs. Did he want to spend more time with his family? No, as he will more than likely see the inside of a courtroom more often than the Delay clan in the coming months.

The reason he quit was political cowardice. Instead of suffering the indignity of losing an election based on TX-22's view of his shady dealings with Jack Abramoff and Co., he decided to take his political marbles and go home. He chose the "honorable" path of political suicide rather than see his seat, with him sitting in it, be turned over to a Democrat by the voters of the 22nd District. To demonstrate the point, he quit via videotape, thereby insuring that he never had to face the media and answer a question honestly.

For someone as haughty and arrogant as DeLay, it is indeed ironic that he chose, in the political equivalent of the 11th hour, to take the coward's way out. Apparently, the smile on his mugshot was not enough to convince the voters of his district that he has no character flaws.

I would be completely naive if I believed that Tom DeLay's PAC largesse towards the Republican Party is suddenly going to stop given this announcement. His videotaped message came very close to stating that it would be business as usual with regard to GOP fundraising, and that's a business that currently finds him squarely in Ronnie Earle's crosshairs.