Oct 09 2012

This I Believe

Published by under Comm 300

Nothing is more alluring to a Latin woman then a Spanish-speaking white male. I had proven this fact in several quaint Baja towns and after leaving El Farallon that night was proving it again. Prior to heading to my place, we stopped in for a quick bite at a popular Mexican restaurant I frequented. Similar to La Juanita’s here in Sioux City it had great authentic food, but you didn’t want to be there after dark. I was a regular though, so I gave it little thought.

While we sat there enjoying each other’s company a young chunti approached. His eyes were glossed and immediately I could tell he was zooted. He asked if we could talk in the bathroom. I assumed he was angry at the fact a guero had stolen one of their own. But I was a young brash Marine fresh out of MCMAP training and he was coked-out. What did I have to lose?

Reassuring my companion that I’d return shortly, I obliged and followed him in. I wasn’t surprised when he asked if I’d like to buy cocaine and simply smiled, refused, and excused myself.  Yet to my surprise and dismay a nearby stall opened and four other chuntis emerged. My heart raced and limbs shook as the cold steel I felt beneath my chin began choking me. I recall the feeling as one tried to remove my watch and others began searching my pockets. “Fuck it,” I thought – “if I’m going to die then I’m going out swinging.”

I clenched my fists. Yet just as quickly felt the snap of the trigger in my throat. I wasn’t dead. “It isn’t loaded” was my only thought. Fighting my way out of the bathroom and into the dining area I could hear myself screaming, “Call 911” “Call 911.”

The sound of my cries or more likely the fear of prison caused four of them to immediately flee the scene. The owner of the gun knew his fate was sealed though, so he continued to fight at first. Yet reality set in and he headed for the door. The cops wouldn’t arrive soon enough to catch them, so I followed in pursuit knowing that a license plate number and escape direction would be helpful.

He turned to me and again pointed his unloaded gun and pulled the trigger. The muzzle flash and whizzing sound at my ear stopped me dead in my tracks. I turned as if in a dream and stood there as the glass cracked around the fresh bullet hole.

There is a God –This I believe.

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Oct 03 2012


Published by under Uncategorized

After watching Gattaca, famous movie critics Siskel and Ebert proclaimed it, “one of the smartest and most provocative of science fiction films.”

Both men also noted that the film was, “a thriller with ideas,” bestowing it with their coveted two thumbs up. After watching Gattaca, I couldn’t agree more.

Set sometime in the near future, the sci-fi thriller Gattaca stars Ethan Hawke as Vincent Freeman, a “Godchild” (or natural birth) whose only goal is space travel. Unfortunately for him as a Godchild or “In-Valid” he is a genetically inferior man in a society where the prerequisite for such a mission is perfection. His limitations prohibit him from service at the astronaut-training program  “Gattaca” in any capacity except cleaning it. Yet by assuming the identity of Jerome Marrow (Jude Law), and his second to none genetic profile, Vincent’s deception and persistence lead him to the cusp of his dream – a manned mission to the moon of Saturn.

As luck would have it though, a week prior to launch a murder investigation marks Vincent as the prime suspect. What’s more, the lead investigator in the case as well as Vincent’s alluring colleague may know more about him than we think. The question thus lingers if Vincent will fall from his so-called “borrowed ladder?”

Directed by Andrew Niccol and released in 1997, this PG-13 tale keeps you on the edge of your seat. More notable than the plot itself is the films star-studded cast. Throughout the story I caught myself trying to recollect where I had seen several of the actors and actresses prior. Films like Billy Madison and television shows like Monk immediately came to mind. If pop culture is your thing, then definitely try and place this cast with their other “claims to fame” and see how many you can guess.

Notwithstanding, I enjoyed the flow and suspense of the film, which never ran off course and always kept me engaged. Though I’m not generally a fan of the science fiction genre I found Gattaca extremely compelling. The genetic science in Gattaca is probably possible by today’s standards and it got me thinking. If parents could order perfect babies would they or more importantly should they?

After some brief searching on that question I found several had opinions on the matter. ChristianAnswers.net even wrote, “ Imagine a society where everyone is more intelligent and healthier than you. Imagine a society where your genetic makeup—engineered or natural—determines the job for which you are eligible, whether or not you can be insured, and who associates with you.”

It does get you thinking about the possibilities of such a choice and the medical ethics that coincide. Fortunately for us, life (in this case) has yet to imitate art – or at least we hope.

Three and half stars. Worth the time to watch.

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Sep 21 2012

Mr. Clean

Published by under Comm 300

The cleanest of carpets hides under my door. No stains and no dirt do I find on this floor.  So off quickly I run to door number two. I fling that one open and find nothing there too. So I stroll to the living room and peer at the couch, “I’ll find something here,” I say out loud as I crouch.

But wouldn’t you know it – we had the carpets done. Ross gave us this assignment; probably thinking, “Hey it’s fun.”

So now what to do? Guess I’ll continue to look.  I’ve got to have dirt hidden deep down in some nook. So I search every corner, every crevice, and every crack. But all that I find is clean carpet smiling back.

I pull at my hair ready to give up this fight. And no I can’t look outside now, because it’s to late at night. Then into my ear a voice whispers to me. It says, “Look behind the fridge and then tell me what you see.”

So I wrap my arms around it and pull it from the wall.  But just like behind the doors I find nothing at all.  Inside the entertainment center, by the bathtub, near the sink, there’s got to be something there…or at least you would think.

Perhaps by the nightstand or even under the bed, we cleaned because we’re moving and now I’m losing my head.

Oh where do I look? Does anyone have a clue? I’m starting to stress, tomorrow this paper’s due!

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Sep 15 2012


Published by under Comm 300

Charlie Sheen recently purchased famed linebacker Lawrence Taylor’s Super Bowl ring. In 1992 Sheen bought Bill Buckner’s famous ‘86 World Series blunder ball. He owns the contract, which sent Babe Ruth from Boston to the Yankees, as well as Ruth’s 1927 World Series ring. More recently in an attempt to catch a Cecil Fielder home run, Sheen spent $5000 on a large section of seats at Angel Stadium. None came his way.

Sheen is a celebrity. He leads a lavish lifestyle and thus his vast collection of sports memorabilia seems normal to most. He’s considered a connoisseur rather than a weinee though he admits, “I lost a lot of money on the Mookie Wilson-Bill Buckner ball from the 1986 World Series.”

But what about the obsessive fan whose not rich or famous?  We all know someone who goes just a bit overboard. Those who are overly dedicated to “their” team yet lead ordinary everyday lives. What do you truly think of that person, if even at all?

Nick Brinks loves NASCAR, as he strolls around campus everyone waves. Eric Zimmerman bleeds for Iowa football. Does it make him weird when he misses work after they lose? John Janowski is from Boston and roots for the New England Patriots. Does his “Mass-hole” arrogance anger his Siouxland co-workers? Take a brief look at the lives of all three. Then decide for yourself if hardcore fans are typical people or obsessed oddballs.


NICK: “She came in the house to see what all the screaming was about, and I told her “MCMURRAY ACTUALLY WON FOR ONCE!” That was pretty cool.”

Nick adds, “The first race I ever watched was actually the one that Dale Earnhardt died in.”

If this race had been your first would you have become a fan? Obviously for Nick the emotion and excitement spoke to him.  If you witnessed the death of a legend would you have shrugged it off as coincidence never to tune in again?

“As far as NASCAR merchandise goes, I don’t buy as much as I used to, but I still have quite a bit. Nowadays, I primarily buy McMurray gear and not much else.”

Keep in mind Nick is still in college. What happens when the next crop of drivers comes along? Or perhaps he has a son later in life? According to Nick, “I have a McMurray flag in my room and 5 or 6 McMurray t-shirts. I also own 10-15 die cast cars of his from 2003 through this year.“

As for Nick’s collection,  “When I was younger, I would collect the little cars from all the drivers, buying them at Wal-Mart, Target, garage sales, and wherever else I found them. In all, I still own over 100 little die cast NASCAR cars.”

Nick’s radio show airs on KMSC and yes the topic is usually NASCAR though he admits, “I’ve never been to any NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races, but I have been to 4 Nationwide series races, all at the Iowa Speedway.”

“I’ve also kept all the NASCAR shirts I’ve had over the years. I obviously don’t wear many of them as I was much younger and smaller, but I’ve kept them in my closet kind of as memories of childhood.”

Who knows maybe some lucky lady or little listener will win one soon. But does Nick obsess? If each piece of Nick’s die cast collection were a pair of shoes, would women think it foolishness?


ERIC: “My dream would be to live inside Kinnick Stadium.” 

Eric walks into the room. His wardrobe consists of black Iowa Hawkeye flip-flops, grey Hawkeye sweats, and a University of Iowa football fleece. Before he speaks he checks his Hawkeye encased smartphone then asks his employees if they could rearrange their schedules. Eric just got tickets to the annual Iowa vs. Iowa State football game.

Eric admits, “Sure I’m obsessed. Obsessive compulsion, whatever you want to call it. There’s worse ways to spend your time and money.”

Eric owns his own restaurant. He has a wife and three children and is very much involved in their lives. He golfs in a league and does caterings for the local schools. However, come Saturdays during college football season, everything else takes a back seat. Does he see this as a problem?

“No. My wife has learned just to walk away or take the kids out when Iowa’s on. She knows I’m not to be bothered,” Eric says.

As for his friends and social life he confessed, “I was the best man at my friends wedding and I was listening to the Hawkeye game while I stood up for him.”

How would you feel if your best man or maid of honor was catching the game while you were tying the knot?


JOHN: “Wait till they get a load of me.”

John hails from Boston, the heart of New England. With a name like Janowski, rooting for Patriot players like Rob Gronkowski and Teddy Bruschi has always been easy.  But does that justify, sleeping under a Patriots blanket every night. Should his vehicles be decorated with New England stickers and Patriot license plate frames?

John owns a motorcycle painted Patriot blue. He prefers riding in his Patriot lettermen’s jacket rather than leathers. “It keeps me warmer. That’s all I care about at 4am.” Taking every opportunity to ride and save gas, John regularly takes his bike to work in the summertime, even though his commute is 45 minutes one way.

Whether at the bar, a restaurant, or even gambling at the boat in Sioux City, John always sports a Patriot jersey, sweatshirt, or tee. What do his friends and fellow employees think about his choice of style?

“Patriots suck,” is the response most of his co-workers give.

One co-worker even proclaimed, “John’s a asshole anyways. When the Patriots win he’s even more arrogant and stupid.”

John’s reply, “F*&k those f*&kboys.” Their teams suck. Of course I let them have it. I’ve won over $180 bucks so far. What now f*&ksticks?”

John then reminds them how he used his winnings to purchase his newest Patriot’s ensemble. Does John take it overboard though? Is he obsessed with the Patriots or simply a fan of trash talking and gambling?

In a recent Washington Post poll question five asked, “In general, would you describe yourself as an avid sports fan, a regular fan, a casual fan or not a fan at all? “ The majority of Americans considered themselves casual fans at 37%. Though the “not a fan at all” finished second at 25%.

So how should the nation view John, or Nick, or Eric? Are they really that much different from everyone else? How far is to far when it comes to fandom? Eric only wears clothing stamped with a black and gold Herky the Hawk bust. Every other word from John’s mouth is Brady or Boston. Anyone know what’s Nick talking about or seen what’s he wearing today?

“Here’s the good news. If I realize that I’m insane, then I’m okay with it. I’m not dangerous insane.” – Charlie Sheen

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Sep 11 2012


Published by under Comm 300

Recently I read an article on this year’s Chicago Bears. What makes the article’s lead stand out is its wording. The first few sentences use the words explosive and revamped. Descriptive terms like  “multitude of weapons” and “most anticipated” are added. Here are some alternative leads to the story.

 Foreshadowing: After starting last year 7-3, the Chicago Bears limped to 8-8-season record. Key needs were addressed this off-season and the Bears are poised to win it all. They began with Indianapolis on Sunday.

Question: Will Indy’s luck run out this Sunday?

Contrast: With Green Bay dominating at 15-1 last season, many experts have them picked to win the Superbowl. Detroit put the NFL on notice with its youthful attitude, making the playoffs for the first time in over a decade.  These aren’t your father’s Bears though and this isn’t last year.

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Sep 04 2012

A Coke and a Smile

Published by under Comm 300

It was another sweltering day in the ancient city of Babylon.  Having stood watch overnight (with a 6’7, 280lbs. homosexual Texan) had left me on edge.  Even on his knees in our foxhole, begging for my affection, he overshadowed me. Thank God he didn’t attempt to get physical or I might have been in some serious trouble.

It was Tuesday and like it or not, it was my turn to babysit “the workers”. Each day dozens of locals would wait outside our makeshift base for a chance to pick-up trash or do random odd jobs for $2. None of them spoke English and the few words they did know were never used correctly.

For weeks I had seen them slaving away and by now could tell them apart because they never changed there tattered clothing. I felt sorry for them. It was hot and I was tired.

They trailed behind me fully expecting another day of menial laboring.  A few mustard up the courage to point at my nametape and attempt to say my name. “Green” was all I replied.

I lead them to an open area near one of Saddam’s lavish arenas that rested on a lake they had obviously never seen. My tent was nearby and as they marveled at the lake’s beauty and craftsmanship of the arena, I disappeared inside reemerging with a soccer ball. I was the NCOIC of the camp, it was hot and I was tired. So I spent the remainder of the day watching former Iraqi soldiers and family men play.

At the end of the day I marched them to the site of our shipping containers from America. I could see the uncertainty in their eyes as I opened one overflowing with Skittles, Starbursts, and other various treats from home. I motioned them inside but they didn’t go. I filled a bag and gave it to one, but he refused it. It was like I was tricking them and they didn’t want the disappointment or reprimand. Finally they bit and dove into the sea of candy and snacks filling their bellies and lining their pockets as quickly as they could.

“Mr. Green good…Mr. Green good” was all I could understand.


Our assignment was to give away a 12-pack of soda any way we chose. The watching was the important part and writing about that and how the people responded was the goal. Our professor had shared an anecdote about leaving comic books with the hopes of people taking just one, only to find that someone just came along and took them all. His response, “People are cruel.”

As an older non-traditional student I live in the real world with real bills. My girlfriend and her son love Mountain Dew so that’s the 12-pack I chose. I gave it to them and they didn’t give much thought to it at all, unlike the Iraqis who acted as if I had taken them to El Dorado.

So I saved myself $5 and watched as my gesture went unappreciated. Hopefully I didn’t fail this assignment in doing so.

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Aug 28 2012

Johnny Knox and the questions he poses

Published by under Comm 300

  After reading a recent article on the status of the Chicago Bears former up-and-coming star Johnny Knox  several questions  lingered:

1. Who replaced Knox on the depth chart and how was that person fairing?

2. All 32 NFL teams have trainers. Are they all certified physicians or simply overpaid ankle tapers without a real clue about injuries?

3. Knox is said to be recovering quickly. What is his workout regime? Having been basically ripped in half (as shown in the picture) does he really believe he’ll play again?

4. According to the Bears, Knox is on the NFL’s PUP list. What is that mean?

and finally…

5. What ever became of other notable players who suffered decimating injuries (i.e., Kevin Everett, Dennis Byrd, etc…)

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Dec 07 2010

Local Reservists cooks up Freedom.

Published by under Comm 208

“The Army runs on its stomach,” This one of several great quotes heard from 2nd Private Chris Bruning during a recent interview. Chris, a Reservist in Siouxland’s very own 960th Quarter Master Company led the way last year serving approximately 3,500 military members daily during “Operation Pacific Warrior” a joint Air Force/Army combat-readiness exercise at Fort Hunter Liggett.

Chris, a cook for both the Army and Family Table Franchise proclaimed to serving, “only the best whether it’s in the field or in the kitchen.” Adding with a smile, “floor spice doesn’t make it nice.” Both quotes a testament to the Army’s values instilled in PV2 Bruning as well as his own personal attention to detail.

An avid artist, the laid-back 21 year-old added, “cooking like art was something I was good at…whether it’s a meal or a drawing I always enjoy giving people my best.”  Sketches like the ones shown here are just a few examples of this local artist’s talents.

With no formal training, Chris mostly draws in his spare time.  Architecture is one of several subjects he wouldn’t mind looking into after serving his country.

With regards to that service, thousands of hungry soldiers at “Operation Pacific Warrior” gave praise to Bruning’s self-proclaimed “skill on the grill.” Each of the soldier and airmen were offered the optional choice of any flavor of MRE. Countless numbers of them stood in line daily, eager and thankful for Private Bruning’s culinary expertise. Three years left on a six-year contract and the possibility of a 2012 deployment don’t bother Bruning.  Other Siouxland families in PV2 Bruning’s unit have varying emotions about potential deployments. All involved though are preparing.

Having what two local residents deem “hilarious skills” this Certified Army Food Specialist gathers what he calls “…all kinds of common knowledge facts.  You never realize how useful it can be. I read The Handbook of Knots by Des Pawson last summer while fishing and reeled in a 12lb catfish.”

Last night, before work I came and helped a friend change her serpentine belt in the parking lot.” These anecdotes, both evidence of Private Bruning’s dexterity.  “Small town Iowa can get boring at times. What better way to enjoy an afternoon then fishing with a good book and a cold beverage? There’s so much you can learn from reading.”

All in all, PV2 Bruning hopes to excel in his role as a reservist saying, “I enjoy what I do.” He knows that if deployed patrolling dangerous streets and being far from home along with various other aspects, will be in addition to feeding the thousands of military members serving along side him.  Reinforcing that currently the 960th Quarter Master Company has no plans for deployment, the young private knows full well that political unrest in the Middle East and Korea is cause for concern. “Three years is a long time away and no one can predict the future.” With his rifle or with his meals, this Army Certified Food Specialist is a first-rate example of Siouxland’s very own Army of one.

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Dec 03 2010

Middle East kicks US butt.

Published by under Comm 208

Qatar has been awarded the 2022 World Cup. Referred to as “…a triumph for spin over substance” Yahoo.com’s article finishes that statement with “and leaves a black mark on FIFA’s already besmirched name.” The US made a solid push in their bid to host the World’s largest sporting tournament. In many minds, Australia was thought to be a close second choice for the event.

The US found that guarantees of a hugely profitable tournament, state of the art stadiums, and an unmatched  transportation infrastructure weren’t enough against the small Middle Eastern country. Why Qatar? Many are pondering that question right now.

With blazing heat well into the 100s during tournament time, only having one major city,  and the possibility of political unrest, fans have cause for concern. Hopefully Qatar will keep good on its promise of futuristic stadiums and lavish hotels, if not the World Cup may be doomed forever.

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Nov 19 2010

Superhero Saves Summer

Published by under Comm 208

After drudging through several Batman, Spider Man, Incredible Hulk, and Iron Man sagas these past few years, finally one of my childhood heroes is coming to the big screen. Set for release June 17th 2011,  DC’s Green Lantern will hit the theaters with a bang.

The story is of test pilot Hal Jordan, played by Ryan Reynolds, who encounters a spaceship with a dying alien inside. The alien, who is part of an interplanetary police force,  gives Jordan a ring that can create out of light anything the mind can dream.

Unlike Batman and the other aforementioned heroes Green Lantern protects mankind against aliens, as well as crazed humans. Thus making him a hero for everyone. Additionally, his carefree nature makes him more appealing than the arrogant Tony Stark or aloof Bruce Wayne. Besides, who needs a cape when you have this kind of “bling” on your finger?

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