Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Time to Change

Peter Brady may not have uttered more famous words. But they apply to all of us. For those that know me, I tend to be a creature of habit. Change is the money I get when I pay cash for something, not something I apply to my life. For our younger readers, cash the green paper you get when you use your ATM card.

But change I have. Big change. A silver dollar. For the purposes of blog, I will still be the Loop. Chi-town, the Second City, the Windy City. But I am actually calling the city of Urbana home. That is where I live, but I go to school in Champaign. Yes I said school. If you haven't figured it out, I have started Graduate school at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The campus is actually bisected by city line separating the two towns.

I am studying for a Masters in Sports Management. The adjustment is getting better. Although only a two hour drive south of Chicago, I've gone from a thriving urban sprawl where I knew lots of people, to a ultra-rural area where I know no one.

But I think this can be a good thing. Meeting people will happen. But at least for now it is allowing me plenty of study time, free of distractions. And herein lies the biggest adjustment: CLASS!

It has been 10 plus years since you could officially call me a student. And even then the term student might have been a stretch. Luckily for me, Graduate life is requiring a lighter class load, albeit more demanding classes. The hope for the coming weeks and months is to try to find a way to use my talents in other areas within the University, one that hopefully can reduce the cost of tuition.

So that's that. Keep clicking in for future updates on the Coovo College Experience.

Friday, January 25, 2008

30 Years of Law & Order: Part VI - Old Timers and One Liners

The following is part 6 of a 51 part series on "Law & Order". Other parts can be seen here:

When Law & Order hits the airwaves, we are usually witnessing a collection of folks who are just living their lives but stumble upon a crime. Usually a dead body. Yuck! Through the magic of TV, police are on the scene in seconds. No matter if it is morning, noon or night the same two detectives are always dispatched to the scene. Displaying unnerving calm, these two superior dressed cops have talked to witnesses, got the rundown from CSU and managed to crack numerous one-liners all before your clock hits 9:02pm. It is with this diligence that we are launched into an hour of gripping drama with a really hot assistant district attorney.


This duo is lead by the senior detective. I guess. Until we researched for this series, neither of us had any idea of the classification of the two. It does make our job a lot easier.

The first senior detective was actually a senior sergeant. Max Greevey (1990-1991) is about as old school as it gets when it comes to police. Tough. Honest. Smart, but not in a wake-up-smart kind of way... more like blue-collar smart. And the most old school trait of all? His name is Max. The role was already very likable, but actor George Dzundza (God Bless You!) deserves some credit for that.

Max and Mike Logan had a father-detective / son-detective type of relationship. They were men from different generations but they respected each other's work. Their partnership came to an abrupt and fatal end when Greevey was unable to recover from a fatal shot from which he died fatally.

Phil Cerreta (1991-1992) had the arduous task of replacing Greevey. Logan and Cerreta didn't get along initially, as Logan was "greeving" his partners death (Billy would have killed me if I missed that pun opportunity), but they eventually got along well.

Cerreta starred in one of the better scenes in early L&O, when posing as someone interested in buying stolen guns he was shot by the seller who, on what seemed like enough speed to kill a horse, panicked in the middle of the deal.

Mike Logan's 3rd partner in as many years was Lenny Briscoe (1992-2004). There isn't one person on earth who can sum up a situation in less than 10 words better than Lenny. Never fleet of foot, he made up for it with wit, charm, a good nose for investigation and sound interrogation.

One of the most surprising / least known facts about Briscoe is his role as passenger in the car that killed Claire Kincaid. The driver, drunk, was giving Lenny a ride home from the bar, who was also too drunk to drive.

Jerry Orbach left the show in 2004, most likely during his bout with prostate cancer. He made a few appearances with some L&O spin offs in the year following, but passed away soon after that.

Briscoe's unceremonious retirement leads to the addition of Joe Fontana (2004-2006) who came to the 2-7 from none other than the Chicago Police Department.

Although of the same generation as Greevey, the personality pendulum swings far away from Max, with Fontana making numerous references to the value of his shoes, suit or Mercedes.

Fontana's flashy appearance and somewhat brash personality matched his bend-the-rules style. He left the show after a couple years for unknown reasons, written off on the show as retirement. I'll bet he's down in Florida complaining about how much he sweats when he wears his suit to the beach.

Ed Green is promoted to Senior Detective after Fontana retired. You can read more about Ed in the previous L&O entry Young Guns.


Roller's take: If I were to say anyone other than Lenny Briscoe I couldn't look myself in the mirror. I almost want to get divorced a few times just so I can always have a one-liner handy about an ex-wife. Because he paints it as a really happy life, right?

Because this is a one-horse race, I'll rank them so as to show some kind of appreciation for the rest. 1) Lenny 2) Lenny 3) Greevey 4) Cerreta 5) Farina 6) Green. I would actually put Green higher but he still needs to cut his teeth as the Sr. Detective. Greevey may be one of the more underappreciated characters on Law & Order. Coovo you agree/disagree?

Coovo's take:
At first I was like, "What is that annoying Dad from Dirty Dancing doing on Law & Order?" It was the last time I ever doubted Dick Wolf (until Criminal Intent came out). You sympathized with, you admired him and you cried with him. I loved how he always had an old friend from back in the day who they could call on for some assistance. I'm pretty sure the biggest chapter in a coffee table book of famous TV one-liners would be of Lenny Briscoe.

Max Greevey's one year may have been better than any one of Briscoe's. Yet we must consider the brilliant decision of George Dzundza to leave what has become the longest running drama on TV for such career changing roles as Leo Lemke in The Butcher's wife and Hal Griffith in Dangerous Minds. He came back to TV in Jesse, with Christina Applegate. Nice move George. You showed them.

Fontana--had to be mobbed up. Cerreta--so you got shot, get back to work. That's what Green did. Green--he's got my respect.

Note: Law and Order is back on the airwaves in its old Wednesday night slot: 10 ET/9 CT. I've seen one show. Afterwards, I took out my stuffed teddy Briscoe and cried myself to sleep.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Free Beer!

Well, no, not free beer. But free guitar lessons! Kind of.

Check out, where you can find digital guides for chords, scales, and tuning.

Start with the tuner. Tune your guitar to standard tuning, or adjust the knobs on the guitar to tune to an alternate.

Check out the chords. Pick any chord. Like C. Pick any of the 27 variations of that chord. Like C7b9. Click the strum button. Control the tempo of the strum. Play an electric or acoustic. Pick another chord. Slap on a capo. Left handed? No problem. Click the Inversions button to view all the different ways to play that chord up and down the neck. Save the chord to your own bank of chords on the site.

Move on to the scales. Pick a key. Pick a scale. They are missing some of the variations on the major (ionian), but it's still pretty darn comprehensive.

So grab a beer, grab your axe. Listen, play, learn. And one day, you may be as good as this guy:

Saturday, January 19, 2008

McCain, How Do You Sleep At Night?

"On top of a pile of money with many beautiful ladies."

So that quote is really from McBain, not McCain, but it would be pretty funny if the Senator shared those sleeping habits.

Oh yeah, this post is about a recent exchange McCain had at one of his town meetings regarding the presence of troops in Iraq. My better half pointed me to this NY Times blog article that defended McCain, or at the very least attempted to provide a more fair account of the aforementioned exchange than the D.N.C. (as described in the article).

McCain takes a pretty hawkish stance on this issue, essentially arguing that American troops and bases are needed around the world to ensure national security. I'd be interested to hear his reaction to the other side of this chicken-or-the-egg argument (the one Ron Paul espouses), that the reason our national security is threatened is because we have bases all over the world.

I find it encouraging that both McCain and Paul have consistent and honest messages, but I think the answer is somewhere in between. I agree with Paul, that our presence in their land is a significant cause of the anti-American sentiment in the Middle East. Removing or at least dramatically decreasing our presence there is a perhaps the ideal solution.

I can't believe that it is the most practical solution, however. I believe our nation is stuck in a situation where it is extremely dependent on stability in the Middle East. I can't believe I just wrote "stability in the Middle East" and was not attempting humor. Maybe it's better (and easier) to say, we can't have Iraq become Afghanistan.

I continue to contend that although we need to see progressive turnover of responsibility to Iraqis, it would be a mistake for a candidate to promise and plan a complete pull-out when they take office. In the long term, I agree with Paul and disagree with McCain that we need bases in places like Japan, Germany and Korea. But the practicality of removing our presence in the Middle East is strongly tied to our nation's ability to remove its dependence on the petrol flowing from the region.

I invite comments from everyone, be it on McCain, Paul, any other candidate or the subject of our military presence overseas. I know I will learn more by discussing with you.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Who Likes To Rock The Party?

Watching this kid generates two emotions: laughter and anger. I can laugh at him because he's not my kid. But then I can't help but imagine if he were my kid... and it makes me want to give him a swift kick in the ass.

There are some great lines in here, though, and I can't get the vision out of my head that this is the teenage version of Jemaine Clement.

"I haven't really talked to them [parents], because every time they call I don't answer. Cause, yeah... they'll probably try to kill me."

"Uhhhm, sorry? [what he'll tell his parents]"

"It could have been any random person walking in the street doing it [smashing cars], it happens all the time. "

"I have [taken a hard look at myself]. Everyone has. They love it."

Funny Kid Isnt Sorry About Huge Party - Watch more free videos

Monday, January 14, 2008

Political Lunch

Some of you may be wondering how you can get a shot of news regarding the 2008 Presidential Election. Others may be wondering who turned the channel from cartoons to CNN. Well, we have good news for both of you!

Political Lunch is a website featuring a daily dose of election news from two nerdy-in-a-cool-way dudes. They have a quick rhythm, and concisely wrap up everything you need to know about he-said / she-wept in the last 24 hours, with photos and charts and interviews etc., all delivered in HD.

You can download their podcast from iTunes, or just check out their website to view their show. The site and show are both done very professionally, but there's just a touch of flimsiness to everything (sometimes you can see the desk wobble) that you have to figure the whole thing is being run by these two guys out of their apartment. How cool is that?

For those more interested in anything besides this darned election, Coovo should be reappearing soon, regaling us with tales of hazing, all-nighters, the cute chick he walked home from Biology, and getting busted sneaking beers into his dorm room. We can't wait, Coovo!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Scaredy Fox! Scaredy Fox!

Fox News decided that Ron Paul was not worthy of entry into the Republican debate in New Hamphire, even though Paul's results in the Iowa caucus (10%) were triple that of Giuliani (3.5%), and he was close to 3rd in New Hampshire polls. What is this, Nader all over again?

Hats off to Jay Leno, who recognized the undeserved snub and had Paul as his headlining guest on Monday night. I doubt that the Leno appearance helped Paul in NH, but I wonder if nationally this might have worked out better for him than attending the debate.

Here is Leno's interview of Paul:

Part 1:

Part 2:

Saturday, January 5, 2008

People in Glass Booths Should Throw Votes

OK, that didn't make much sense. But after you finish this post, it will (i.e. might).

If you're like me, and at least half of you are, you're having a tough time deciding who you like in the '08 election. Friend of TLATL, Ryan, tipped me off to a cool website that gives you an easy way to find with which candidates you may be aligned in your opinions.

Check out and you'll find this simple exercise:
  1. Add points to any of about 12 different issues to weight their importance to you.
  2. Answer a number of "strongly oppose - strongly support" questions based on the issues you weighted.
  3. Submit your answers and wait a few seconds while mumbling to yourself "Please don't be Hillary. My God, what will I do if it's Hillary? Can I take this thing again? What if I do and it's Hillary again? This whole site was created by the Clinton War Machine to make everyone think they're aligned with Hillary! I know it!!"
  4. View a list of the candidates with which your opinions are most aligned, as well as the reasons why.
Well since people are probably wondering, I was equally aligned with Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee, both at 76%. McCain came in 3rd at 71%. I've yet to read fully why I am aligned with each of them and not aligned with others, so I'm not sure how accurate it is. I'm quite sure that reading that and taking the quiz again and again could actually alter my thoughts on each candidate, but that's the whole point.

Thanks, Ryan, for the tip. I've since read about it elsewhere, so the site's popularity seems to be growing.