Wednesday, March 29, 2006


I briefly considered writing up a whole spiel on My First Mortgage to continue the Fischer Price series, but couldn’t convince myself that anyone in their right mind would get past the title.  So I’m going to land it here as the headliner of another grab bag.  Hmm.  Now that I think of it, maybe I should hide it in the middle.  You’ll never see it coming that way...

I’ll be happy when Bonds retires.  No reason other than getting past the endless carrying on about his steroids.  Yes, it sucks that he’ll probably overtake some of the most hallowed baseball milestones as a cheater.  But will history forget that?  Look at how Pete Rose’s legacy has been torched.  I think the biggest issue people have with Bonds is simple, and it’s not about his juicing.  No one can stand being lied to.  It’s like a wife that knows where her husband’s been.  Just tell me, we both know, just say it.  

Absolutely fantastic March Madness this year.  You don’t have to really care one way or the other about the teams, but the games will just suck you in.  How many regulations have gone down to the wire with two squads that outright refuse to lose?  It’s also nice to see an outmatched team like GMU knock out major schools by putting their unit up against of collections of individual talent.  

A lot of Pacer talk now that Jermaine is back.  Please.  This may be the most overrated franchise of the past decade.  They’ve NEVER gotten over the hump, and this team looks no better than any previous incarnations.  Swapping out a defensive force for Peja makes them a better playoff team?  Peja?  The same guy that develops vision problems in the clutch?   On the other end, there’s nonstop buzzard-circling over the Pistons now that they’ve lost some momentum and aren’t gunning for 70.  It’s the annual habit I had with Jordan’s Bulls, and was annually forced to watch them win despite my wishes.  With the Spurs hobbling some, the Suns limping, Dallas unproven, and the Heat still far below expectations, Detroit is still the obvious choice.

This is where I was going to warn against reading too much into Amare’s surprisingly strong 20 pt/20 min season debut, but was beaten to the punch when the Suns staff shelved him again.  He’s not injured, to be clear.  The trick with coming back from major injuries like this isn’t getting back to leaping and playing again, the trick is being able to recover quick enough to play 3 games a week again.  He can’t.  One of the alarming things happening during his rehab was soreness and swelling in his good knee and back trouble.  D’Antoni’s staff is making the smart decision to ensure his future health.

Hey, so I closed on a house this week.  Surprise!  Very anti-climatic, despite what all those Sallie Mae commercials led me to believe.  Maybe the wife and I will share a moment watching the bunny dart around his new mini-backyard.  The biggest thing for me was discovering how badly Mary Poppins misled me.  I was under the impression that banks stayed in business with the savings accounts of small children, and that you should feed the birds since it’s only toppins for a bag.  Well, ho ho ho.  Turns out mortgages may play a small role in the bank budget.  It all sounds so innocent and un-scary at first.  5.8% interest!  That’s only a few thousand dollars, not bad!  Then I sat down and crunched the numbers to see what the total loan repayment would be.  Nearly fell out of my chair.  Here’s what I’ve since garnered: front load until you’re relegated to eating 35-cents burritos.  Need to make it a little more real?  Take a mortgage and compare a 25% down 15 yr (fixed) repay versus a no-money-down 30:  the former has you on the hook for about 37 dollars in interest for every $100 of the total house price ($200k house --> ~$70k in interest).  Owch!  The latter?  You don’t even want to know (hint – you’ll effectively buy the house more than once).  Here’s the trick – if you double up on some payments and dump a big tax return onto the first year or two, you’ll cut into the principle which will slash the interest like a magic elixir.  The unfortunate truth is, we live in a world where this so much easier to realize than to implement.  Looking around, I don’t know too many people that could just toss in an extra few hundred a month on their mortgage, and if you could, I doubt that you’re that worried about interest.  Life can really suck.  But the Joes always told me that knowing was half the battle, so there you go.

In continued life sucks news, Mitchell Hurwitz has decided enough is enough with Arrested Development, which is most likely the nail in the coffin for the series.  No one seems interested in trying to continue without him and Showtime considered his invovlvment to be a key contingent for bringing the show over to their network.  There’s still faint hope for reconsideration or a film, but only faint.  The Season 3 DVD (2-disc) is expected to be released June 13th.   God speed!

Speaking of AD, we’ve got a TV to life jumper in Jessica Simpson pulling quite a Lindsay.  Turns out her Operation Smile interest came about through her hairstylist.  Her astoundingly for-show appearance in Washington with the organization really came across to me as a PR campaign in response to her pending divorce and revelations of her cheating.  Now she’s let it be known that she wants to adopt orphans a la Angelina and her publicist is letting the media know about all of the “anonymous” donating she does.  God bless celebrities.  

Now that I’ve finally gotten through the first 4 seasons of The Shield, I can definitively say that this show runs rings around 24, even before the writing for Bauer & Co slid so badly this season.  What kills me is that now I’ll have to wait until Christmas to watch Season 5 on DVD, made worse by the fact that its finale had legions of people doing backflips and chatting about it for a solid week.  Ugh!  Grabbed the first disc of The Wire to see if it might work as our next show via Netflix, but we voted it off before the first episode finished.  Extremely realistic, but extremely boring because of it.  Sopranos it is!    


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