Saturday, December 31, 2005

Ramblings for the Evening (New Year's Ed)

So here I sit at my computer with 2006 having started in New York and ten minutes before the calendar changes here in the Twin Cities.
Oh, I know, dear reader, you're wondering, "Leab! What the hell are you doing on the computer?! There are New Year's parties aplenty you could be at right now. What's the deal?"
Well, here's the real deal: My wife and I were supposed to go to a party tonight. First, however, we had a hockey game to attend (the Wild beat the Canucks 4-3 in a thriller). We got home and started to get changed to make our way to the party. As we started to leave, she started not feeling well. Once in the car, I knew we weren't going anywhere. As I write this, she is currently on the couch next to me passed out. I tried to get her to go to bed, but she wants to be with me when the clock rolls over. She wants to see the ball drop in real time. I might wake her up. I don't know.
So, how about I ramble on and see if anyone besides my two devoted readers peruse this?
Without further ado: GOULET!
Teachers Are ALWAYS on Call:
As I said, Mrs. Leab and I were at the Wild game tonight. During the first intermission, we started talking about the upcoming semester at the high school. The woman on my right turns and says, "Are you a teacher?"
"Yes," I reply. "I teach high school English. I'm the guy who every student hates by graduation."
"Oh, my daughter is in high school."
"So is mine," says the guy behind me.
"My son is at Central," The woman next to my wife says.
"We all go to Cretin," One of the guys in front me says.
I'm trapped, but it gets worse. One little question by the woman next to me gets an ugly ball rolling and leaves me talking in four directions for the rest of the night.
"My daughter here is a junior. She's trying to find a good journalism school. What do you recommend?"
After recommending a few far away from Minnesota (and a few closer for mom's sake), every single one of the people around me started asking me questions.
"How important is class rank?"
"Do they REALLY look at ACT scores?"

"Is the new ACT hard?"
I talked to these people, students and parents alike, for two more periods. That's about an hour and twenty minutes.
By the time the game was over, I was starting to get hoarse.
My wife, was even less thrilled than I was. "You need to start telling people you can't talk about it."
For me, the only issue is I am still on vacation, and I felt like I was teaching. I started to feel amped up. When I got home I had to take a few minutes to unwind myself (though I return to the building in a couple of days).
A couple of things amazed me about this:
1. There were many people freaking about the whole getting in to college process.
2. These people hung on my every word as if it were water in the desert. I can't get them into college, and many people would disagree with my assessments of the testing, what colleges are looking for, and so forth.
3. Mostly, however, I was just kind of pissed that I had no way to excuse myself. When I went to the bathroom to get away, one of the guys from Cretin followed me and kept talking to me. I almost peed on his shoe to make him shut up.
If you're a student and reading this, here's the best advice. It's hard, but you must follow it:
RELAX. Take a deep breath and relax. The whole college process seems difficult when you look at it, but it's really quite simple. Don't work yourself up into a lather. Relax.
Christmas with the In-Laws:
I am a patient man. A very patient man. My in-laws are good people, but they attempted to cram Christmas down my throat this year.
Before I left for Missouri, my wife told her parents I was not in the Holiday mood this year. "He says he isn't feeling it. It's weird."
From the moment I stepped into their house, Christmas was everywhere, and I do mean EVERYWHERE. The toilet, the toilet paper, the room I slept in, the fact that several of the African animals my father-in-law had mounted were wearing Santa hats. Oy vey!
While the gifts were great (I was given certificates to various places, a nice sweater, a hockey jersey, and a few movies), the fact I wasn't in the spirit was never far from my in-laws' minds. "Perhaps watching A Christmas Carol will put you in the mood."
Didn't work.
I did smile a great deal when my wife opened her present from me. Because her work is so stressful, I got her a full day at Litespa. She's never had a spa day, not even on her wedding day.
However, the highlight of my time there had to be how my mother-in-law and my brother-in-law both inadvertantly insulted me.
Christmas Day. I'm sitting at my wife's aunt's dinner table next to my mother-in-law. Mrs. Leab's aunt is lamenting her daughter's choice of boyfriends (the 18 year old is currently dating a 25 year old fry-cook having just dumped a 32 year old).
"I don't understand why she dates them," the aunt says.
"Well," says my mother-in-law," they're never with the ones you want them to be with."
A moment passes as everyone turns and stares at me. It takes a full five seconds (I counted) for my m-o-l to figure out what she said.
As everyone continues to stare at me, I finally say (in a joking manner), "'s tough when your only daughter marries the son of a dirty, dirty Jew. Sheesh."
I didn't let that one go for a full day. She would question my politics or beliefs or whatever, and I would respond with a comment about her daughter's taste in men. Awesome.
My brother-in-law, however, made it quite clear his sister was with me only because of money.
"Women only want one thing: money. Isn't that why you (my wife) married him (that would be me)?"
Stunned silence follows.
Don't get me wrong, it was a nice time down there, but it seems like everytime I see them now, my in-laws feel their daughter made a mistake. They hate that I'm not a practicing Christian, they hate that I'm not an Evangelical Republican (there was a FUN argument between my wife and her parents about Intelligent Design that ended with, "your husband has been brainwashing you again."). I like them, but I just wish we could talk about the world without it turning into either God, Bush, or Furher.
Is that too much to ask.
It's getting closer to the ole ball dropping, so let's finish....
Well Wishing:
I hope that you all have a better 2006 than 2005. Even if 2005 was a great year for you, I hope that 2006 will be even better.
To my wife, for everyone to recognize how great you are, like I do.
To my parents, some rest.
To my sisters, for life to bring you your just rewards.
To Greta, I'm sorry to hear about your employment situation. So I hope they regret it.
To Emma, this change in your views on life is...refreshing. May it continue.
To Laura, no more goyum.
To the students at HP, a better second semester and good times.
To my readers, long life and strong eyes.
To DeRusha, for Seth to enjoy year two.
To Michele, Meridita, Worm, Everyone at MN Speak, for you to be recognized for the geniuses you truly are.
Here's to you.
Happy New Year.

Friday, December 30, 2005

Slander a la Leab (12/30/05)

Wow, I got a really nasty email, because I didn't post a piece of slander yesterday. Sheesh.
You have to love the snow. I went out at 7:30 this morning to shovel. Did my entire driveway (both sides), the walkway, and the had to redo the end of the driveway when the plow driver slammed into the curb and dumped a BUNCH of snow blocking any chance for me to leave without reshoveling.
Then, when all was done, my neighbors came out, looked around and said, " didn't do our path."
Before we start, I have to give a huge thank you/what are you thinking?/holy cow to
Jason DeRusha. In a recent interview, DeRusha named Ironic Teachings as one of the blogs that he reads. I am unworthy. Thanks, I've a had a few people come through here (for an average of 4 seconds) because of that interview. Thanks for the plug.
Ok, so still recovering from the Holiday, but I know people want their slander.
So: Let's get to the SLANDERAMA!
Don "Dondy" Shelby frightens co-workers:

Local news anchor and Minnesota personality Don Shelby has undergone some radical changes according to WCCO co-workers. Shelby, who had been a rather private person until recently, started hanging out with Sean "Diddy" Combs and even hosted a party with the rap mogul at the "Throwdown in Downtown".
"I don't know what it is," Terri Gruca remarked. "It's like that old episode of The Flinstones. Fred hits his head and suddenly thinks he's a race car driver. Don seems to be the same way. He slips on the ice outside the building, and suddenly he's 'player' in the rap world. It's weird."
Other members thought Shelby had been brainwashed. "After all," Paul Douglas explained, "We are right next to the Church of Scientology."
A spokesman for the church said Mr. Shelby had never been in the building.
Regardless of the reason, the straight arrow (and sometimes described as "overly anal retentive") anchor has let go.
After hosting what the City Pages is calling the "Best Party of 2005," Dondy, as he wants to be known, started acting strange around his co-workers.
"I think," Jason DeRusha, the man on the street reporter for WCCO, said, "he's been listening to too much of R. Kelly's
Trapped in The Closet in his office."
Co-workers first noticed Shelby's love of the urban opera when he started rhythmically talking about what it was he was doing.
"I was sitting at my desk," DeRusha recalled. "Suddenly Mr. Shelby comes over. You have to understand, unless he tells you it's all right, you HAVE to call him Mr. Shelby. Ben [Tracy] called him 'Don', and Mr. Shelby turned on him, stared him down, and then whispered something that made Ben cry. I'm no idiot, I'll call him Mr. Shelby until he says it's ok."
When asked about calling him "Don" on the air, DeRusha had the expected answer: "We're the media. We HAVE to look like we're chummy. Let me finish my story. So, Mr. Shelby comes over to my desk and places some paper there. As he puts it down, I hear him singing, 'I walked over to DeRusha's desk, and I put the paper down. He looks up at me, I try to smile back.' Then as he walked off, he started singing about that."
The problem came to a head at a 9:30 rehearsal for that night's news. Dondy started reading the news, then singing about the fact that he was reading the news.
"...and those two kids were ok. (Singing) I read the story about the two kids in the fire."
When fellow evening anchor Amelia Santaniello felt she had seen enough, she called Shelby on it.
"Don, what the fuck are you doing?"
Shelby didn't like Amelia's approach. He pulled a gun, pointed it at her, and started singing, "The crazy bitch next to me started acting up. So I pulled my gun out and told her to 'shut the fuck up.' Then I waited for a response, but she just stared at me. So I got up and left."
It is unclear at this point what will be done to help Mr. Shelby, but insiders have hinted that he will be undergoing Steely Dan Therapy.
News and Notes:
-Feeling pressure after his draw with Rex Sorgatz, Garrison Keillor has decided not to
move his show. Insiders have commented Keillor feels that leaving would show that Sorgatz really won the fight.
-Chris Conangla's contract with UPN29 will expire in three days, and both sides are having trouble agreeing on stipulations. Conangla has asked for a hooker to be present under his desk at all times, "In case I get an itch...or something." The station has commented that they didn't give in to Jordanna's wish for a Swedish man servant, they won't give into Conangla.
-The entire Minnesota Twins organization is trying to figure out how to get more money for next season now that ex-Twin Jeff Reardon's crime career has been cut short. "We're going to have to field a bunch of AA guys. Jeff was our ticket to Mike Piazza."

That's it for today's edition. Hope it tides you over until next week.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

4,134 Words

I am really tired. Back from seeing the in-laws. When my mind stops hurting, I'll write about it. So, because I am out of it, I present four pictures to tide you over.

I took this at the Missouri Botannical Garden. This is how I feel right now.

My wife. She has such piercing eyes I find beautiful. Then again, this is her pissed at me.

There's something about water in motion. When you capture the peak of a fountain, there's something alive about it.

This picture always makes me smile. It's my father. The week of my graduation from college, my wife and I took my parents to the St. Louis Zoo. To me, this is the quintessential representation of my father. A man with a balloon.

Happy Birthday, Lori.

I'm out.