Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Mill's New Mayoral Fan

The Mill's new biggest fan?

(It's rare that a single man wields such tremendous power over both what we perceive as reality, and the many worlds of our imagination. But this week is gigantically important for the NFL and for fantasy football teams - and Mayor Michael Nutter is the most powerful man in both realms. I decided to write him a letter thanking him for pretty much winning me my fantasy league this year. And for being an all-around nice guy.)

Dear Mr. Mayor,

You are obviously a huge Philadelphia Eagles fan. I’m pretty sure it’s stipulated in the city charter. But I had no idea that you were also such a big fan of my fantasy football team, “Vick and the Underdogs.” You see, your decision to postpone this week’s game against the Minnesota Vikings will most likely guarantee us another fantasy championship.

Please allow me to explain.

My team consists of a bunch of players (see Schedule A attached), including - but not limited to - Mike Vick and DeSean Jackson. The original game time, 8:30pm on Sunday night, would have coincided with a ferocious blizzard of biblical proportions. These are not conditions typically conducive to Vick’s and D-Jax’s field stretching deep game. Instead of watching the dynamic duo make TD passes fall like rain on an overmatched Vikings secondary, we were more likely to see handoff after handoff to some running back who is not on my fantasy team - WhoSean McSomething, or whatever - as the teams slowly battled across a frozen tundra of shattered fantasy dreams and broken make-believe promises.

But thanks to you and your so-called concern for public safety, we can now see Vick and the Eagles run and throw unencumbered by blinding snow and 6-foot snowdrifts. There will also be less risk of an avalanche burying the goalposts, which would confuse David Akers enough to possibly kick the ball the wrong way - which he hardly ever does. (Note: Akers is also on my fantasy team).

Consider the fact that the NFL has not postponed a game due to snow (not including the Metrodome’s recent roof collapse) since some time right before the War of 1812. This can only lead me to believe - and since my fantasy football team has only been around since some time AFTER 1812 - that you postponed the game to virtually assure my fantasy team of victory. No other logical explanation exists.

So instead of waiting for your imminent fan mail to me - soon after I capture my crown as repeat champion of our fantasy league - I decided to beat you to the punch and send a quick note to you - not only thanking you for your patronage, but also providing some answers to a couple of questions that you were probably wondering about.

Question: Mill, how do you do it year after year?

Answer: I’ll assume you’re asking about my rampant success with fantasy football, and not the fact that my waist size hasn’t changed since college. Well, it all comes down to being smarter than everyone else. And/or having a faster internet connection so that you can pick up free agent players like Michael Vick before anyone else in the league gets their dirty little paws on them.

In fantasy football, as in like, you need to “take it one day at a time.” Like the Marines, you need to be “Always Ready.” And as General George S. Patton said, “A man is not a baby or a woman. So quit crying, take off those pantyhose, and get back to shooting some Nazi bastards!.....Seriously, they’re headed this way.”

As a fantasy football manager, these are all words to live by, and sometimes you just have to hope that the other managers in your league are not Nazis.

Question: What’s your prediction for the game tonight?

Answer: Thanks for that question. Of course, the Eagles are going to win big. 48-10 would be my most conservative guess. Vick throws for over 400 yards, and rushes for another 80. DeSean catches 9 passes for 196 yards and 3 TD’s. Akers kicks 6 extra points and two 40-yard field goals. I win my fantasy league by, like, a gazillion points or so.

So, Mr. Mayor, thanks again for being such an all around nice guy in both fantasy and reality.

Warmest Possible Regards During This Coldest Possible Weather,

- Mill

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Monday, December 27, 2010

Handy Homeowner

My wife and I joined the elite, highly-stressed, constantly worried about being foreclosed, risk-taking club of first-time homebuyers about two months ago.

At the time, it just seemed to make sense. And I don’t think either one of us regrets the decision (even if I did recently lose my job a few weeks after settlement - which is an entirely different story for an entirely different day.)

Ostensibly, we bought a house because we plan to settle down in the neighborhood - and need a bit more space than our 2-bedroom rental could offer. Plus, mortgage rates were historically low, and the entire market has been in the shitter for a couple of years now. I mean really, how much lower could prices possibly fall? Famous last words, I realize.

In any case, 2 months in and so far, so good. The house has good bones, as they say. But I wait, vice grips in hand, anxiously anticipating the day when one of those bones breaks.

Because for me, buying a house isn’t just about the opportunity to settle down, or build a nest, or have a place for little Mills to roam free and play. It means the chance to become something I’ve never been before. To assume an alter ego of sorts, even more mysterious and alluring than that afforded by a Blogger account.

That’s right. I now have the opportunity to prove to the world (my wife) that I am, in fact HANDY. Because this house is great in many ways, but it sure as hell isn’t perfect. And there are enough minor problems - structural, cosmetic, electrical, plumbing, HVAC, creaking doors, out-of-whack windows, and dead or dying plant life - to offer almost unlimited chances to be handy.

Why, just the other day I replaced a missing vent in the dining room. Kinda handy.

I patched a big-ass hole in the ceiling of the garage. Pretty handy.

I resealed the cap flashing on all 5 dormers on the third floor facade, and replaced all the windows with energy-efficient, triple-paned, double-hung Andersen windows. Extremely handy.

Of course, this is all incredibly great and you’re probably thinking I’m so super-handy. Except that I’m lying about that last one. We pay professionals to do that kind of shit. In reality, anyone with a screwdriver and some scrap drywall could do what I’ve done. But this is just the beginning of my jaunt down a very handy road. And without a home of our own, I’d never be able to take this journey.

I’m sure the trip will include some missteps - that’s why I’m forbidden from undertaking any projects that feature live electrical circuits. There will likely be a hammer blow to this thumb, and a cabinet dropped on that foot. Shoes and shirts will be ruined with paint, and rickety ladders will be used without a spotter. I may even try to get up on the roof through the bathroom skylight, but only when there are no thunderstorms in the area.

I hereby pledge to never use a pneumatic nail gun (too many possible horror movie scenarios), and will try my best to avoid the temptations of using a circular saw (I REALLY like having all ten fingers). I promise that I will not fix it if it ain’t broke. And I will keep all of my bits with my drill - if you know what I mean.

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Sunday, December 26, 2010

I'm a lot Like Michael Vick

We are both in our 30’s.
We both (currently) like dogs.
We both really like the Eagles.
We are approximately the same height.
We throw things primarily with our left hands.
We run faster than many of the people around us (for him: linemen and linebackers; for me: my wife and my parents).
We are both responsibly repaying our debts to creditors (me: $20k in student loans; Vick: $20 million in jewelry, cars, mansions, solid gold toilets, and champagne dreams).
We both hate folding our socks and underwear.

I’m sure I could go on and on.

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Thursday, December 23, 2010

Ikea: The Nordic God of Frustration

Ikea, the bastard offspring of Odin and a giant boar, is a mighty magical being of incredible strength. Ikea has the ability to control the Earth’s tides, as well as the power to turn sawdust and leftover Styrofoam into delicious – and affordable – little meatballs.

Just as his cousin Loki is known as a rascal trickster, so too does Ikea play games with the puny, weak-minded humans who worship at his particle-board altar. Many well-known myths demonstrate Ikea’s masterful trickery – but none so famous as “The Tale of the Seventy Misaligned Pre-Drilled Screw Holes.” I will not go into the details of this extraordinary story, as the yarn has been spun thousands of times over the ages – to the horror of children and adults alike.

Suffice it to say, Ikea is a brilliant rogue.

There is, however, a lesser known Ikea myth which (I believe) merits much greater distribution throughout the Ikea-worshipping world (aka, the internet).

Have you heard of the story of “The Shoe Maker and the Furniture Labyrinth”? I thought not. This fable involves one stubborn, silly human – Sven Magnusson – who dares to flout Ikea’s omnipotence, and has the audacity to doubt the great god’s cleverness.

As revenge for Sven’s indolence, Ikea tricks him into entering what appears to be a large barn - with the promise of a fantastic collection of magical hex-wrenches. But instead, Sven finds himself wandering through a never-ending maze of furniture, none of which is comfortable enough to sit on for more than 5 minutes at a time. He is relegated to this personal hell for all of eternity, aimlessly browsing well-staged groupings of sleek sofas and chairs, lighting and accessories.

But the legend speaks of Sven’s chance for redemption, as described by the Lord Ikea himself:

And upon that holy day dost thou finally accept defeat at my hands, I shall allow thy release from this brilliant labyrinthine prison. And only on that day, as it is promised, thou shalt be rewarded with unlimited, sleekly-designed Nordic-style furnishings of every shape and size – so that thou may distribute these gifts to all of mankind, at ridiculously low, low prices.

However, in order to get these gifts to pass from this world to the next, most of the items will need to be disassembled. Thou shalt pack them flat for ease of transport. I shall include simple instructions for reassembly, of which thine youngest and simplest child shall translate into all the languages of the world – so that all men may enjoy the value I hath provided, whilst accepting mostly minor difficulties due to shoddy craftsmanship. And all the Earth shall praise my name for ever and ever. And so it is written, and so it shall be. Amen.

The clear morals of the story are “might makes right” and “it’s better to look good than to feel good.” And, as I’m sure you’ve figured out, Sven did indeed make it out of that frightful maze, to fill the world with inexpensive, difficult to assemble furniture.

Sven Magnusson, I salute you as I write this - even though my Ikea desk chair just fell apart because it was missing several screws.

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Thursday, December 09, 2010

Ode To Vick

Your legs are like jets, your arm is a rocket.
Bad Michael Vick - doggie’s tail in a socket.
Better Mike Vick – he’s kind and humane.
Best Michael Vick – throwing touchdowns like rain.

Lurie gave you a chance, Fat Andy did too.
One chunky Mormon, one well-dressed Jew.
Now you’re together, three peas in a pod.
On the NFC East you’ll trample and trod.

I remember the game that you played in the cold.
And you threw for four touchdowns, let the legend unfold.
You ran for two more, and I heard the dogs cheer.
I was so goddamn happy, I spilled a whole beer.

The problem with that is we have wooden floors.
And wood in the walls, and thick wooden doors.
With beer seeping in, and without too much time.
I couldn’t keep on with the theme of this rhyme.

So I leapt to my feet and rushed to the kitchen.
Grabbing some towels and warm woolen mittens.
The mittens – mistake - I returned them real fast.
And grabbed some more towels, what a pain in my ass.

I sopped up the beer like a bat out of hell.
A little too late, the floorboards did swell.
They buckled and broke, and twisted and cracked.
My wife’s gonna kill me, I better buy her a present

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