Where I Come From, We’d Call It Tuesday

Tuesday, February 1st, 2011

Some are calling it the “Blizzard of Oz”. Others refer to it as “Snowmageddon”. Where I come from, we’d simply call it “Tuesday”.

NBC photo

Oh my, Shut Down the City

Yes, the midwest is bracing for possibly the worst storm in decades. Forecasters are calling for anywhere from 4 inches to 3 feet of snow out here in Kansas and Missouri. Schools are closed. Light snow flakes fill the air. The roads have some snowpack. The winds might get to be 30-35 mph. Yes, we are boarding up our windows now, having successfully raided the grocery store for flashlights, candles, bottled water and canned foods. We are hastily switching channels between the local news stations to see what’s happening out there. I really enjoyed the clip of a snow plow driver prepping the streets, talking about safety, while driving with a bright tv camera light in his face (showing off at least three teeth). Please pray for us…

Here it Comes!

Having grown up in Casper, Wyoming, this is nothing. Schools would be in session. Offices would be open (yes, I closed our office today–it’s the thing to do out here). Traffic would flow at the normal 30 miles per hour (sadly, speed limits are still dreadfully low in Casper). People would survive. Afterall, 35 mile per hour wind is just an average Tuesday in “C” town. But not out here. We’re all hunkered down, fearing the worst but praying for the best. If you don’t hear from me, wait for Snowmageddon to stop and call for help. Thank you.

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The Titty ‘Spection Agency (TSA)

Friday, January 14th, 2011

Not too long ago, I was watching Saturday Night Live and they did a spoof sex line commercial portraying the Transportation Security Administration as the people you will talk to. While I thought the bit was funny, I also thought people have been drastically over-reacting to the TSA and their new pat-down procedures. That was until this week.

TSA Physical

Turn your head and cough, please.

On Monday morning, I flew from Kansas City to the west coast. With the weather conditions we had here in KC, I left early for the airport and ended up getting there with much time to spare. I grabbed a bite to eat then proceeded to a lengthy line to get through security. While waiting in line to prove my identity, I could see the TSA hard at work with their pat-down procedures. I watched two people get the rubber glove treatment. Both of the individuals were at least 70 years-old, it appeared. One man; one woman. It took me about 4 or 5 minutes to get through the line, and for the entire duration, the two were being rubbed and frisked. I truly felt like the lights should be dimmed and there should be some Sinatra playing over the PA system. I felt as though I was watching a complete body massage. Fortunately I got to the check-in point and lost site of the TSA agents before I could see if there was a happy ending for either of the two elderly people.

I was, however, thankful… I felt very secure as it was so reassuring to know these two people were not going to bring my plane down. I know my government is looking after my well-being, making sure grandma and grandpa were free of any weapons or explosives. In reality, I know now what I felt when the TSA was formed after 9/11 — our government really shouldn’t be heading security at the airports. What they do is more for show than really to protect us. They are there to create a false sense of security. And until recent times, that has mostly worked. But now, they are proving to be the joke that they are. We have people making ~$29,131 per year that should be making $8/hour at Walmart or $1.99/minute on a sex line that nobody would call.

TSA Breast Inspection

Any explosives in there, grandma?

Just this past week, it was announced that the TSA’s show is not all about showing the public how safe they are making our airports and flights, but that they also seem to like the show they receive when they give their massages. Lynsie Murley sued the TSA last year and has now settled for an undisclosed amount after her breasts were exposed during a pat-down. The event became a laughing matter, so it seems, for the TSA members around. Their “attention to detail” and joking around about it has led to some sort of a payday for Murley. I bet the payday was not insignificant. Many of you will also recall that last November, John Tyner’s encounter in which he proclaimed “…touch my junk and I will have you arrested” prior to his pat-down received much publicity, as he secretly recorded the “private” meeting with the TSA on his cell phone. Without rehashing the whole story here, I encourage you to read his blog post here or watch a Fox News story about it below.

Personally, I have not had the privilege in all of my flights of late to get my personal pat-down, though I must admit I am anxious to have one. Would certainly make my flight a bit more relaxing, having received a thorough massage with a happy ending (I just wonder if they will provide a cigarette afterwords). While I haven’t received that special treatment, I have twice been through the new full-body-imaging scanners. I know some people feel this is a total invasion of privacy, but to me, I feel happy that I am able to make some pervert’s day. My only real surprise is that the images acquired haven’t been leaked in a new WikiLeaks scandal. That day will likely come, I am sure.

I leave you with the clip from SNL’s parody on the TSA. It is well worth the watch. Enjoy your flight. Maybe my long trip to Maui next week will be kicked off with a bang… almost literally. After all, the skies are much more friendly these days (or at least the pre-flight, I should say).

If you want to read some more pat-downs gone wrong, check out this link. Even more, if you are currently working at McDonald’s or Walmart and would prefer a titillating job with the TSA, you can apply on-line here.


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My Princess is Three

Monday, January 10th, 2011

While Braelyn has been telling people she is three for about the last five months or so, she actually turned three yesterday morning. It has been an amazing journey watching Braelyn grow-up, and no doubt, the next three years of her life are going to be equally enjoyable.

Braelyn on her Day of Birth

Braelyn Grace after her entry into this world on 1-9-08.

Braelyn at 3

Braelyn on her real third birthday.

In the the three years and now one day in this world, I am reminded of all the wonderful moments in her short life. Some of these moments, and my favorite things about Braelyn, include:

  • Taking a cruise at just a few months old. I wonder what someone would think today if she handed them her passport with her newborn picture on it.
  • Her trip to Maui, where she splashed in the pool. Yes, my daughter has done her share of traveling.
  • Her first word being “Da-Da”. While it has been replaced with “daddy” today, it’s my favorite thing she says. Maybe not as cute as her singing “tinkle tinkle little star” but I always love her saying “daddy”.
  • The tight squeezes she gives, and has me give her, multiple times every night before I can leave her room.
  • Playing with her favorite toys, which now-a-days is anything Brody has at the time.
  • Her first day of preschool–“cack” pack and all.
  • Her first visit to Disneyland, which she remembers every time we start a Disney movie and she sees the castle in the Disney opener.
  • The way she refers to yesterday, and really any day in the past, as “last day”.
  • Our Sunday ritual (which has now expanded to at least two times per week) of taking a bath in our master bedroom jacuzzi tub. Now, Brody joins us as well.
  • Her love of going outside and swinging and sliding. And swinging some more. Mix in some time with chalk on the driveway.
  • The way she said Hoover’s name…. “Who, VER!”
  • The way she interacts with my parents over webcam. Technology has enabled her to grow up knowing all of her grandparents, even though my parents do not live close by.
  • The way her picture with her grandpa Robert brought tears to his eyes at Christmas.

Most of all, I love the way she stole my heart and won’t give it back, that early morning of January 9th, 2008.

Happy 3rd birthday to my Princess Brae-Brae.

Braelyn with her Minnie Cake

Braelyn with her Minnie Mouse Cake.


You can see all of her birthday pictures in my gallery.

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Back from the Dead? Journalism at its Worst

Saturday, January 8th, 2011

Rep. Giffords

News of Rep. Gifford's death, then lack thereof, circulated the news sites.

I don’t know whether Rep. Gabrielle Giffords will ultimately pull through and live or not, but I know that the mere fact that she is alive must be nothing short of a modern day miracle. For what was over an hour, if not two, she was dead today. This, according to the journalistic efforts of new outlets such as MSNBC.com, who started sending me breaking news alerts of her death. Within hours, I received yet another breaking news alert indicating that a surgeon thinks she will live; while the headline on MSNBC.com remained that she had died.

My rant here is not about her death, or lack thereof. This was a tragic event–one that no American should ever embrace. The fact that a 22 year-old man shot her and killed five or more other people, including a nine year old girl, at a political speech in a parking lot is dispicable. While the event in and of itself is horrible, it is magnified by shotty journalism, which is what I really feel like ranting about. Journalism in the United States has turned from telling the story to making the story. Journalists no longer need to have facts or know the truth — it is merely a race for ratings. Be the first to report a story and put a notch in your belt. Who cares if the story is right or wrong; just be the first to report it.


MSNBC broke false news about Rep. Gifford's fate.

I see no signs anymore on MSNBC.com that Rep. Giffords is, or was, dead. The headlines were wiped and the story vanished into the abyss after learning that she has lived. I don’t know if the reporter, editor, publisher, or anyone else will pay for reporting bogus news, but in the end, it no longer matters. Regardless of which news site you get your breaking news from, chances are they are making, not breaking, the news. And this, my friends, is a major problem. Sadly, a problem I don’t see going away anytime soon.

Dan Rather

One would think journalists would have learned from Dan Rather's firing. But they didn't.

Flashback to Dan Rathers, who was fired from CBS for reporting false information about former President Bush’s military service. A “big gun” took a bullet. Other media outlets would certainly learn from the event, wouldn’t they? Apparently not, as today, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was killed. Then was alive. Just leaves us to wonder if it was a born-again experience– a modern day miracle, or was it journalism at it’s worst. I think the latter.

My thoughts and prayers go out to Rep. Giffords and all of the victims of today’s horrid tragedy in Arizona. I pray for speedy recovery of those who did not perish, and for the familes and friends of those who did. I don’t yet know if this was a politically motivated shooting, as I suspect it was, but there is no justification ever for turning to violence. I probably don’t support much of what Rep. Gabrielle Giffords stands for politically, but I will turn to my keyboard and never to a gun. I do wish outrage over shotty media would prevail and those reporting the news would do just that: report it, don’t make it.


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Elway the Comedian

Saturday, January 8th, 2011

John Fox

Elway wants to interview John Fox for the Broncos head coaching vacancy.

If a report on ESPN.com is true, John Elway, in his new role as Executive VP of Football Operations with the Denver Broncos, wants to interview John Fox, the ever-so-successful embattled Carolina Panther’s football coach, for the Broncos head coaching vacancy. All I can say is, “Are you kidding, Elway?” There is no Rooney Rule equivalent saying you must interview at least one horrible candidate before you can hire a head coach. Something, though, must be making this even a consideration, as I hardly believe Fox’s record with the Panthers even hints as a positive move for the Broncos.

Yes, Jim Harbaugh is out of consideration now that the San Francisco 49ers have pulled him from his successes at Stanford. For this, I am thankful. I wrote the other day that I think Harbaugh would be a big mistake, as it is rare to find someone successful in the college ranks who jumps to the NFL and finds success. I further find it unlikely that NFL coaches who can’t find success in one organization probably won’t find success in another, unless of course they worked for Al Davis and the Raiders, in which case all bets are off.

John Fox

John Fox and the Broncos fan will share this look if he takes over the head coaching duties with the Broncos.

As the Panther’s head coach, John Fox does have a winning record. In his 9 years at the helm, he has ammased an amazing 73-71 record. This is hard to do when you have to overcome three successful seasons (11-5 in 2003 and 2005, and 12-4 in 2008). Those three seasons, each with over ten wins, are the only seasons in which Fox had a winning record. The Broncos need better. They must have better. Let Fox finish out his final season of his contract with the Panthers and go find someone else.

I am all about the Broncos picking up a seasoned head coach, but one with a track record of success would be ideal. The Broncos made a lot of mistakes over the past two years, and hiring Fox would extend the streak. Hopefully Elway will come to his senses and find a winner to lead the team, so the fans of the Broncos don’t have to share the same posture as Fox.

Enjoy your weekend watching some playoff football… and sorry, Broncos fans, try not to dwell too much on Elway’s interest in Fox. I am certain he is just working on his stand-up routine this weekend and he will make another comeback in the coming weeks.



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The Speaker Changes, but Little Else

Thursday, January 6th, 2011

Pelosi is out

My favorite moment of the week, though purely symbolic.

Yesterday began the 112th Congress of the United States, and with it came a change in the Speaker of the House. Yes, Nancy Pelosi is out, and Republican John Boehner received the gavel. This coming after a sweeping victory for the Republicans in last November’s election. While the Speaker of the House has changed, little else has. A new party (yes, the party I am a member of) took control. But despite the promises to the contrary, only the party changes when it comes to dirty politics. Now, the embarassement of how our government operates today continues. Business as usual….

The first two days of the new Congress has already yeilded the following:

  • Multiple members of the new Congress vote, despite not being sworn in.
  • A nothing more than symbolic effort to repeal the health care reform begins.
  • Republicanss figure out quickly that the promises of the campaign season won’t become reality.

What does that mean for us? Well first, since Texas Rep. Pete Sessions and Pennsylvania Rep Mike Fitzpatrick decided to be at a party when the oath was delivered, yet proceeded to vote on legislation later, votes that took place may have to be redone. Wasting time (and money)… business as usual. Now, Republicans have to spend time drafting a rule to allow the duo’s “TV” oath to count, but it is unlikely Demcorats will agree, so it’s likely after the posturing is over, the votes from the first two days will get redone. Oh, and by TV oath I refer to the fact that the dynamic duo saw that the oath was being given while seeing it on TV, so they participated virtually. Yeah, that’ll do it. Time to repeat the oath and votes.

Once the full Congress is finally legally sworn in, the leaders of my party have decided it is time to try and repeal the health care reform. Hey, I am all in favor of this being repealed, but even if some sort of repeal happens in the House, it’s highly unlikely it will in the Senate, still controlled by the Democrats. So in the end, I believe it will be just a big waste of time. This, coupled with the fact that the Republicans appear to be headed down the path of using the same underhanded and dirty tactics we whined about when the Democrats used them to pass it in the first place, it once again will be business as usual. It is a complete and utter joke. And yes, I am talking about “my” party. Why not get down to real business; real reform. Cut spending (eliminate pork). Quit wasting time (and thus money). Do something real.

And seriously, are we not going to be able to do those wonderful campaign promises we made to assist in regaining control? Really? We’re not going to be able to cut spending by $100 million like we said we would. Go figure, right? And using an up-down vote, denying the Democrats (or Republicans, for that matter) to propose ammendments to the repeal health care legislation being drafted is yet another broken campaign promise. Two wonderful examples of how “my” party is hypocritcal and how little more than the person holding the gavel has changed.

While I love the symbolic change of one of my least favorite political figures office sign coming down, just two days into the 112th, I am embarassed and disgusted at the whole thing. I wish there was a realistic option of government reform, but in reality, little will change besides the faces. So excited it’s time for 2012 election promises to begin. So excited… For what? The only thing I can think of that will be worse than the start of this Congress would be my party offering me this….

No Palin, Please

Please, please, please, not Palin

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My Kids are getting Edumacated

Tuesday, January 4th, 2011

Yesterday marked the first day of pre-school for Braelyn (officially, anyway, since she had a practice day Dec. 30) and toddle-care for Brody at La Petite Academy near our house. Both kids had a great time, and according to their first day report, Braelyn loved painting and Brody loved the stairs. I am not sure what stairs he loved as I don’t recall seeing any, but it does not come as much of a surprise.

Braelyn Day 1 at La Petite Academy

Braelyn loved painting the most.

Brody's First Day at La Petite Academy

Brody enjoyed the stairs.

Up until this point, both kids had been in an in-home daycare, but in early December, the provider announced she was retiring on Dec. 21st. Thus, Rebecca went to work quickly to find the right place for the kids. Upon visiting La Petite, she was instantly impressed with the facility and staff, and excited that the kids would both have teachers with degrees in elementary education. She was a bit horrified that our children seemed to not be able to do some of the same things as the kids there (Braelyn, for example, still drank out of “sippy cups” while the kids in her class used regular glasses). She was also excited about the formal education process, accompanied with ample play and nap time, that the kids would receive. Thus, the monthly savings of my trading in my Escalade for a truck quickly evaporated and we enrolled the kids.

In all, I am extremely happy so far with the decision. Both kids now have members of both genders in their classes (at the in-home daycare, Braelyn was the only girl) and will do learning activities as much as just being “babysat”. The evaporated savings from my vehicle swap should pan out for the best. And you never know, my Princess Braelyn may just become a world-renowned artist and allow me to retire early.

Lunch is over, so now it’s back to work…



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My Teams and their Brilliant Coaching Changes

Monday, January 3rd, 2011

As Kansas City Chiefs fans are all getting pumped up for their playoff game this weekend, I am thinking about the wonderful moves my university (Colorado State University) and my favorite football team (Denver Broncos) have made in the past few years.

Mike Shanahan
Almost two years ago to this day, Sir Patrick Bowlen, owner of the Broncos, decided that consistent winning seasons and playoff appearances was just not enough. And on that day, he decided to dismiss Mike Shanahan as coach and VP of Football Operations. Yes, Mike and the Broncos were failing to advance in the playoffs, and missed several years. But the season the Broncos had before his firing was one marred with injuries, and yet the Broncos just missed out of the post season. But that just wasn’t good enough, and so Shanahan was out and the New England Patriot’s young offensive coordinator, Josh McDaniels, was in. At the same time, the Kansas City Chiefs were seeking their head coach, and Shanahan was rumored to be in. Instead, the Chiefs took Todd Haley. As an aside, had the Chiefs picked-up Shanahan, I would have finally converted. When they hired McDaniels, I felt like it might be okay…

Fast forward two years and McDaniels was fired mid-season. Despite my love of the Patriots (my 2nd favorite team), I was happy that McDaniels was out. He created more issues and led to the Broncos heading further in the wrong direction. But it all boils down to Bowlen and his idiotic move of crushing his franchise. On that day two years ago, Bowlen turned his investment upside down.

Denver BroncosNow, the Broncos turn to the legend, the man, John Elway, to assume the VP of football operations. While I am a huge Elway fan, I think this move is as much about positive publicity as it is rebuilding a franchies destroyed by the owner. My sis, who lives in Ft. Collins, says rumor is Bowlen has Alzhemier’s Disease setting in, and she swears it’s not a joke. Well, I don’t know if I believe that, but maybe that would give some logic behind his brain-dead moves of the past 730 days.

On the pro-scene, my only comfort is found in thinking about the Chiefs setting a new NFL record… becoming the first NFL team to lose 7 consecutive playoff games. That, following their assistance this past weekend in the Raiders becoming the first NFL team to go undefeated in conference play and not make the playoffs, is something to put a smile on my face.

Sonny LubickA year before Bowlen went nuts, Colorado State did the same thing. Out with the legendary Sonny Lubick (108-74 in his 15 seasons at the helm of the Rams, including 6 conference championships and 9 bowl game appearances) and in with Steve Fairchild. While it was nice that Fairchild was a former Ram, his accomplishments at CSU make that a moot point. Yes, in his three years in charge have yielded a stellar 13-24 record, including an 0-8 conference season in his second year. Yes, Oh and Eight. Hard to do in the Mountain West. CSU offered Lubick a PR position when they forced him out, but unlike Elway, Lubick passed. While Sonny was definitely past his prime (he had 3 losing seasons in his last 4 years), he built CSU football and should have been allowed his final season and to leave on his own terms. Instead, out with the old and in with the new.

The Broncos and the Rams certainly have made it difficult to continue being a fan. But I am, and always will be. I just hope that Elway’s first move will be to bring in a quality coach. I would have loved it to be former Steeler’s coach Bill Cowher, but that won’t happen for sure now that someone holds the VP of Ops title. Instead, it looks like we’ll probably end up with Stanford’s coach Jim Harbaugh. Folks, someday people will learn that with little exception, college coaches tank in the NFL. Yet they keep getting hired (and ultimately fired).

Chiefs Suck
This weekend, I will watch the Chiefs play, and no, I won’t be wearing red. I will be reminiscing of the days of old with the Broncos, hoping for a quick and speedy turn-around of a once great franchise.



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The Buried Life

Sunday, January 2nd, 2011

As we enter 2011 and I sit here watching the Oakland Raiders and Kansas City Chiefs do battle at Arrowhead Stadium, I am actually thinking about what I want to do before I die. Spencer got me hooked on MTV’s The Buried Life, a show where four guys try and cross items off of their bucket list while helping others do the same.

The Buried Life

I don’t have a whole lot of items on my bucket list, but there are some things I definitely want to do. In no particular order, the list for my own The Buried Life would include:

Places to Visit

  • Austrailia
  • Dubai
  • South Africa
  • Amsterdam
  • A few weeks exploring Eurpoe

Other things I want to do:

  • Coach high school & Legion baseball again
  • Walk my daughter down the aisle
  • Be a grandfather
  • See 150 Dave Matthews Band shows (I’m currently at 76)
  • Own my own businesses, including a sports bar or some variation
  • Set my children up financially

Not sure how many of the items I will get to accomplish in 2011, but only one or two are probably even close to feasible in the short term. But a guy can wish, right? Some items will definitely require me to live awhile since I became a parent in my mid thirties, but hopefully with a commitment to being healthier, maybe that will just happen.

I am definitely thankful for my wonderful family and friends, and certainly hope to share in my Buried Life experiences with them all.

Peace from the OP,


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Happy 1.1.11

Saturday, January 1st, 2011

Happy new year to all of my family and friends. I have no doubt that 2011 is going to be a crazy and chaotic year (thanks, Braelyn & Brody). I just hope it will be a better year than 2010–not that 2010 was all that bad, but you always hope things get better with time.

Braelyn turns three next Sunday, and she’s so excited for her Minnie Mouse birthday party next Saturday. She picked out the cake and everything. Crazy how much she has grown over the past year, as shown in her Christmas pictures from Dec. 24th 2009 and 2010.

Braelyn also just started preschool. She went for a practice day last Thursday, and Monday will be her first official day of pre-school. That and her weekly gymnastics on Saturday are two of her favorite things… aside from any toy that Brody happens to be playing with.

Speaking of the Brodster… he turned one in September and is quite the character. He, too, has grown considerably.

Brody begins toddler school on Monday, at the same place Braelyn goes (La Petite Academy). He loved the place last Thursday when we dropped Braelyn off… so much he got mad when he had to leave. So thankfully, both kids should do well in their new school.

Rebecca is loving her job at Treo Solutions, though she travels to Albany, NY a bit more than I enjoy. I do not think I am cut out to be the primary care giver. Rebecca is awesome at it… I just am “OK” at it. For 2011, Rebecca has vowed to not be grumpy (I give it < 1 day till she breaks that one), to give up soda (Diet Coke has been her cocaine), and until we go to Maui (January 17!!!), she vows she isn't drinking a drop of alcohol. Best of luck to her as she takes on these three monumental tasks at once. She is one tough cookie, though, so I bet she gets 2 of the 3. Spencer is doing real well in his junior year at Blue Valley Northwest High School. He has had a tough past year, with two friends taking their own life. He is a strong kid, and has pulled through. He really is turning into a fine young man. Says his mom is already going through a state of depression, trying to deal with Spencer being out of high school in a year and a half. Something tells me it's more Spencer than his mom, at least at this point. Something else tells me Spencer will be around a year or two after he graduates... time will tell. The big dawg Hoover is doing well. Still a bit gimp from his bad legs, but he is handling quite well. He has even been going up and down the stairs to the basement quite a bit of late. He's a great dog... and just over 5 years old. We will have had Hoover for 5 years in just a few weeks. As for me, I'm doing well. Lost about 12 pounds in the past month, but not completely by diet and exercise changes... while I have been going to the gym a bit more of late, I also took back to my old bad habit of chewing which I gave up on January 1st of last year. It really surpresses my appetite. I made it to labor day weekend without one, but only had a few while at the Gorge. Then I resumed on a regular basis the last week of November. I intend to quit it again right after Maui. I need to keep up the weight loss until then! Work is going strong and keeping me busy... a good thing. Resolutions for me for 2011? Not much, really. Will quit chewing again after Maui. Still don't drink pop (gave that up last NYE). I guess just keep going to the gym and eat better. Be healthy. Yep... sounds familiar, I am sure. Oh, the other thing... as of today, I have seperated my twitter and facebook accounts, and do not intend to post status updates via either. I have grown tired of that, and realize it's pretty much a big waste of time. As such, more about me and my happenings will be found right here on RyanElledge.com. Oh, and twitter will become more of a work thing for me. Less personal, more professional. That's the plan, anyway. To any of you who have stumbled upon this, in whatever manner you came, thanks for stopping by and reading. I hope you have a tremendous 2011. It will be quite a year... and one without my beloved Dave Matthews Band since they are taking the year off. Ugggghhhhhhh. Peace, RE

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