Mark Ruins Football

4 09 2008

Football is here again, and I am rejoicing along with all those who will revel in NOT hearing those words “World Champion Patriots” all year long.  But we probably will next year, since they got the NFL’s easiest schedule this season.

Last year I made a simple suggestion to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell that would improve my enjoyment of watching football.  He ignored it.  Since I’m used to being ignored (I have four kids you know) I decided to add another suggestion at the beginning of this football season.  So here it is:

End Zone Celebrations

The NFL is often called the “No Fun League” since they don’t allow elaborate touchdown celebrations.  I’m not sure why, maybe it cuts into time better spent on a commercial break.  But these celebrations are enjoyed by fans, players, and members of the media alike.  The only people who seem to dislike them are the owners.

My solution: I propose a new rule.  As long as it’s not taunting, any touchdown celebration goes.  Anything. (Remember when T.O. did the Ray Lewis dance in front of Ray Lewis?  Guts, my friend.)   You want to bring the whole team out and do the Hustle in the end zone, go for it (but practice, please).  So long as it’s tasteful and you keep your clothes on, it’s fair game.  You’ve got 45 seconds until the PAT attempt, it’s all yours, take the stage.  


For any other play celebrations are banned.  With a 15 yard penalty. Heck, I’ll make it easier.  Any scoring play is allowed a celebration.  I loved watching those kickers hurt themselves celebrating a 15 yard field goal.  That’s good television.  But other than that, get back in the huddle or back on the sideline.

It’s really annoying to see players who are supposed to be professionals celebrating after mundane plays. This is much worse than any touchdown celebration.  Remember the NY Giants’ defense a couple years ago with that silly “jump shot” celebration after every tackle they made?  On Monday Night Football, no less.  That made the game almost unwatchable.  Even Al Micheals commented that “This has to stop.”  

So that’s the rule: You wanna celebrate, you gotta score.

The above comments were not intended to be inflammatory and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Mark Ruins Dinner.  If you are a member of the 2006 NY Giants’ defense and would like to come and beat me to a bloody pulp my name is Neil O’Donnell. 

Mark for President

13 08 2008

In the US Constitution it stipulates that to be President all you need is to be a natural born citizen and be 35 years old or older. Click here to learn all about the Presidency.   Being that today is my 35th birthday, I decided to celebrate by announcing my candidacy for President of the United States.  My campaign slogan will be “Because I’m old enough!”  As a VP running mate I choose my sister, since she’s much older more qualified than me.

Why should I run for President, you ask?  It came to me as I remembered civics class and the minimum age requirement.  I realized that in this and all future Presidential elections I must ask myself “Is this person more qualified than me?”  So I did some research about the two candidates we have to choose from I came to an important decision.  I’m running for President.  

Think about it.  This has got to be the easiest job interview in the world.  Even Wal-Mart asked me on its employment application what was the date of my last employment.  They offered me a lower wage because I hadn’t “worked” in six years.  But if you want to be President there are only three questions.  1. Were you born here?  2. Are you at least 35 years old?   3. Do you have enough signatures?   Hmmm…. I’ve got the first two.  What about the signatures?  Maybe if I do another giveaway…


7 10 2007

I really mean well. Really I do, but here we have another example of what I thought was a great idea turning on me.

Your kid signs up for soccer. You think two things, right? Shin guards and cleats. That’s what he needs. Isaac has had cleats since he was five playing U6 soccer for the AYSO. So when Jonathan was getting ready for his first soccer practice I went out and got him shin guards and cleats, and his very own blue soccer ball. They make soccer shoes very narrow for some reason, and Jonathan has wide feet. That plus that equals we had to buy cleats for him that were a half size too long. That’s okay, they look great.

stylin in those nikes!

Then he gets out to the soccer field. Wouldn’t you know it, his uniform is black and red, just like his new cleats. Way cool, Daddy’s the hero! Celebrate!

Hi there.  I play soccer.

But there’s just one problem. Jonathan is four years old. The cleats are a half size too big. They play on grass in a very uneven field. Figured it out yet? Well, let’s just say that sometimes he has trouble lifting those cleats out of the grass, with the result being he falls over.

At least there aren’t any rocks in the field.

Mark ruins August

6 09 2007

Benchmarks are always good. It’s good to know “Ick, I ruined dinner, but it wasn’t as bad as last week’s Jerk chicken.” or “This pizza isn’t very good but it’s not the shape of Wisconsin.” Our family (and by that I mean Mark) has a new benchmark for success, or more specifically, failure.

In life we all make mistakes. We all make bad decisions, errors in judgment. And in these mistakes there are varying degrees of disaster associated with them. And in our house we now know that there are bad ideas, horrible ideas, and then there’s Wal-Mart.

Do I ever have any good ideas?

It seemed like a good idea at the time. If I’m still home to watch the boys during the day I can work two or three nights a week third shift, right? Right? Perhaps not. Had I been working just weekends I still would have failed, but it certainly didn’t help that I was on four nights a week – in a row. By the morning following night #4, the boys were on their own, playing video games all day in their pajamas and eating candy for lunch. And it would take three days off for me to start feeling normal again. Well, as normal as I can be.

I’d been working nights for two weeks when I gave my notice. I told them I’d work the existing schedule and then be done. Problem was, there was three weeks of schedule already done, and two of them were jammed together – four days on, one day off, four days on. Ugh.

It’s amazing just how neurotic you become with sleep deprivation. Do you know how confusing it is to start your shift on Monday and finish it Tuesday? Halfway through the night today turns into yesterday and tomorrow turns into today. And somewhere along the line (I’m not sure the exact time) tonight turns into this morning. People start talking about “tonight” and they really mean “tomorrow.” Then I get to go home and sleep all day watch the kids. Is it any wonder that my love affair with coffee became an addiction? After working those eight nights during a nine day period I actually said to the boys “If you don’t eat your dinner tonight I’m selling the Wii on ebay!”

I once had a college professor who told me “You can’t fail if you never try.” This is something you never want to hear from a college professor. He was trying to make me feel better, knowing that at least I’d had the courage to pluck up and do something stupid. And I suppose it’s true. Adding something to the list of my stupid ideas is better than sitting around wondering what would’ve happened if I’d tried this or that. And boy, I set my sights really high on this one, didn’t I?

Oh, and a guy made a pass at me while working the cheese wall at 2:00am on a Saturday night. Or was it a Sunday morning?

Glutton for punishment

17 04 2007

I’m running behind on the dining room project. Topping that, there’s something else I need to do by April 28. It’s just a painting project, so hopefully it won’t take very long. I promise, there’s no wallpaper to remove. Actually, there was some patching of the wall needed, but I’ve done that already.

What lovely drapes!

This entry / stairwell is actually the first thing you see upon entering our house. Come in the front door (That’s it on the left, below), and you are greeted by another door and a flight of stairs (don’t ask). Choose wisely.

Which door to choose?

Go up the stairs and you’ll see a big ugly wall that probably hasn’t been painted since 1957. The walls and the ceiling are the same color since it’s very hard to reach up 20 feet to the ceiling. I’m going to try. I bought ceiling paint and everything. Here’s hoping it doesn’t look like a three year old painted it when I’m done.

Going up and up and up..

Can you believe we’ve been living here for three years and we haven’t done anything to this hallway yet? Can you see why we’ve been putting it off? Hey, another thing. One room, three different wall materials, maybe more. Going up the steps, wall to the right is plaster, wall in front is drywall, and wall to the left is plywood.

I love old houses.

“Sun” Days

27 03 2007

You know how sometimes you get the day off from school, just because there’s too much snow and the roads are dangerous to drive on?  That makes a lot of sense, they don’t want school buses crashing or parents causing accidents picking their kids up from school.  I always loved snow days when I was a kid.  You got the day off, and on top of that you got to go sledding and snowball fighting.  There was nothing cooler.

Except I think I’ve got a better idea.

Why do we have to save up our vacation or personal time to take when the weather is lousy?  Why isn’t it acceptable for people to skip work on a nice day and go to the park instead?  You’re right, you’d get fired.  What we need is an organized system, and I think I’ve got it:

  • “Sun” days would be announced by the school district in the morning, just like snow days.
  • Everyone working in the school district would also get the day off on a “Sun” day.  This would encourage people to work in the town where they live.
  • “Sun” days would be reserved for days with clear skies and high temperatures between 70 and 82F  (that would be 21-27C for you metrics).
  • “Sun” days would not count against personal time or vacation days.
  • If a “Sun” day falls on a Friday and it’s supposed to be nice all weekend, Monday will be cancelled as well.  This will encourage people to take weekend trips with their families and will also stimulate the economy.
  • There will never be a “2-hour delay” due to Sun, however there may be early dismissals.  It’s always better to leave work early than go in late anyway.  Early dismissals could be announced using air raid alarms in the center of town.
  • There will be no less than two “Sun” days during each of the following months: April, May, September (go ahead and make one the first day of football season), and October.  There will also be one in March.
  • Every four years February 29 will be declared “Groundhog Season.”  Sorry, but the limit is 1 per household.  This will encourage families to hunt together. 

Think of going to the grocery store the night before a really nice day and finding that they’ve run out of chicken, steaks, charcoal, BBQ sauce, and beer instead of boring milk and bread like they do before snow days.

Perhaps I should start writing my posts before midnight.