How To Catch The Ebola

Posted by: elraymundo at 10:47 pm on Wednesday, June 17, 2009
From: Great Falls, Virginia
Filed under: Lotus Blossom, Minnesota, Ah, Memories

I’ve been going through boxes of stuff, trying to whittle down the amount of things that we’ll move back east after the house sale closes on the 30th. “Going through stuff” is very dangerous for me. I’m a pack-rat and a sentimentalist and the process of going through even a small box of papers can take me hours. If there are photos, old journals or stories…well, let’s just say I am helplessly obligated to endlessly re-examine whatever historical epoch of my life is reflected in the artifacts contained in the box.

Tonight, for example, I shredded several pale blue sheets of paper that I had received in 1981, each documenting my completion of a self-guided curriculum called a PACE. Each certificate shouted “CONGRATULATIONS!!!” in a giant, bold-faced Arial font, along with the course, score and date of completion, all wrapped around a line-art sketch of a man, young girl and young boy, each very high-cheekboned and Caucasian and very well-dressed and probably drawn by the same guy who illustrated those wretched Chick tracts that used to scare the bejeezus out of me when I was a kid. I had forgotten all about PACEs, along with most of the rest of whatever happened in the eighth grade, but I did remember that I went to school at Chapel Hill Academy, a Christian school in the suburbs of Minneapolis and that the curriculum was self-study; students learned and did their work at their own pace with guidance and help from the teachers.

(Hence the acronym PACE. I have no clue what the letters in PACE stand for - it’s been 28 years since I was in the eighth grade - although I suspect the letter “C” stands for either “Christ” or “Christian.” I have a strong hunch it didn’t stand for “C, as in Charles comma Darwin.”)

(Aha! A quick Google search has turned up “Packets of Accelerated Christian Education” in an online article dated May 27 2009. The PACE, apparently, is alive and well - in Alton, Illinois, at least.)

This is one of Lisa’s PACE certificates…I didn’t think to scan one until after I shredded mine.

Anyway, I shredded several PACE certificates congratulating me for my 100% scores in Science and Social Studies. There were only one each for English Literature and English Grammar. I find that interesting because I was an English major in college, but looking back over my life I realize I’ve had a consistent interest in astronomy, geology, physics and things that roar, like dinosaurs and loose women. Maybe those PACEs knew something I didn’t?

So I fed the shredder little bits of my life: an MFL (Michael’s Football League) schedule, documented in my sprawling 13 year old hand on spiral notebook paper in multiple colors of felt-tip ink, tracking in detail the 1980 season I played out on my electric football game with the little plastic players (which I still have stashed in a box in the garage), the aforementioned PACE certificates, a couple of Bible class quizzes on the book of James and the book of Hebrews printed in the dull purple ink from a mimeograph machine (I must not have been paying attention; I scored a 25/40 on James and the Hebrews treated me even worse: 24/40), four pages of a cartoon creature called Hungry Harold that were probably drawn during the class lectures on James and Hebrews and a bright yellow speeding ticket I got in 1985. (I think I got the ticket on Joe Rogers Road while driving my ’79 Chevy Monte Carlo - sweet chocolate brown, baby! - with my left foot out the driver’s side window.)

And then I came across this gem. (Please keep in mind this list was probably published in the late 70s or early 80s. Anyone who has bought a home in the last 10 years will giggle when they get to item #20.)

SCALE OF STRESS VALUES (life change units)
Death of spouse 100
Divorce 73
Marital separation 65
Jail term 63
Death of a close family member 63
Personal injury or illness 53
Marriage 50
Fired at work 47
Marital reconciliation 45
Retirement 45
Change in health of a family member 44
Pregnancy 40
Sex difficulties 39
Gain of new family member 39
Business readjustment 39
Change in financial state 38
Death of a close friend 37
Change to a different line of work 36
Change in number of arguments with spouse 35
Mortgage over $30,000 31
Foreclosure of mortgage or loan 30
Change in responsibilities at work 29
Son or daughter leaving home 29
Trouble with in-laws 29
Outstanding personal achievement 28
Wife or husband begins or stops work 26
Begin or end school 26
Change in living conditions 25
Revision of personal habits 24
Trouble with boss 23
Change in work hours or conditions 20
Change in residence 20
Change in schools 19
Change in recreation 19
Change in church activities 19
Change in social activities 19
Mortgage or loan less than $30,000 17
Change in sleeping habits 16
Change in number of family get-togethers 15
Change in eating habits 15
Vacation 13
Christmas 12
Minor violations of the law 11

Dr. Thomas H. Holmes predicts that people run the risk of developing a major illness in the next two years if they total more than 300 LCU points. (LCU = life changing units)

So. 300 points gets you an anxiety attack or a stroke or the ebola. Debra and I scored a 458. And that’s with earthquakes, wildfires, mudslides, IRS problems, lightning strikes, power outages and betrayal not even appearing on the list.

I Demand That They Yiff in Hell!

Posted by: elraymundo at 10:56 am on Monday, December 10, 2007
From: Great Falls, Virginia
Filed under: Random, NFL, Jokes, Euphoria, Jeep, Sports, Minnesota

I put the top up on the Jeep last week when I had my interview at The Pope’s Hat. I’ve kept it on since - although I was tempted to take it down so I could drive around while the snow fell. The great thing is that driving with the top up is almost as much fun as with it down. Since it’s a canvas top it’s like being inside a tent, but a tent that I can drive around.

***** ***** *****

Shockingly, The Purple, who were 3-6 four weeks ago, is now the team to beat for the final wildcard spot in the NFC. Despite our all-universe rookie running back only gaining three yards on fourteen carries yesterday, we still beat the 49ers 27-7 to win our fourth straight and improved our record to 7-6.

Miami continues its Bataan Death March toward ignominy. They lost to Buffalo 38-17 and are now 13-0. As an added bonus, they’ve moved past the 2001 Lions and the 1977 Buccaneers on the list of All Time Futility.

The worst starts ever:

0-14 1976 Buccaneers (never won)
0-14 1980 Saints
0-13 2007 Dolphins
0-13 1986 Colts
0-12 2001 Lions
0-12 1977 Buccaneers
0-11 2000 Chargers
0-11 1984 Bills
0-11 1975 Chargers

It doesn’t get any better, either. The Dolphins still have to play Baltimore, New England and Cincinnati. Ouch.

And I know Craig M is down there in central Florida, rabid Bucs fan that he is, just drooling  over the possibility of the Dolphins knocking his team off the top of this particular list.

***** ***** *****

I am a regular poster on a football web forum. Today, a fellow member sent me this video, which anyone who has ever hung out in forums will appreciate.

Warning: Contains strong language and Nazis.

My favorite line: “I demand that they yiff in Hell!”

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Holy Smokes, Things Are Worse Than I Thought!

Posted by: elraymundo at 10:46 am on Wednesday, October 31, 2007
From: Great Falls, Virginia
Filed under: NFL, Sports, Minnesota

According to this caption on Sports Illustrated’s website, Cris Carter played in EIGHT STRAIGHT SUPER BOWLS with the Minnesota Vikings. Eight!

Well, I know we didn’t win any of them. And we went to four before Cris got here and we lost those too, so I guess that means the Vikings have been 12 times and lost them all. Things are much worse than I thought!

I mean, mad props to Cris for the HoF nomination - I’m sure he’ll be a first-ballot election…but couldn’t he have won just ONE of those eight Super Bowls?

(Sorry for the blurry screen cap, folks - I only have MS Paint on the lappie. Blech.)

Screenshot from

Jeep Rides: 41°

Posted by: elraymundo at 10:40 am on Tuesday, October 30, 2007
From: Great Falls, Virginia
Filed under: Friends, Jeep, Minnesota

I wish Shane Pasch could have ridden to work with me this morning. He’s the only person I know who would have enjoyed driving to work in a Jeep with the top down in 41° weather (that’s 5° for you Euros).

It was cold and it was glorious.


On a related note, yesterday was the first time I took advantage of the Jeep’s ability to escape a traffic jam. Stuck in gridlock on Westfields Boulevard I drove over the median, went the opposite direction, and got where I needed to go. I never could have done that in my Beemer.


Just drove to Safeway to get some cough medicine. I saw a nun in a Jeep. Not a Wrangler, but a Liberty. But still, a nun.

Then, walking into the store, a gal with spiked black and red hair, a black leather jacket, a black micro-mini, fishnet stockings and black patent leather platform heels hops out of an SUV, goes into the store and asks where the disposable cameras are. I haven’t seen anyone dressed like that since I lived in California in the early nineties. Didn’t know they still made them like that.

Perhaps this is a sign that I need to get out more.

Torii Hunter Is Outta Here

Posted by: elraymundo at 10:36 am on Tuesday, October 30, 2007
From: Great Falls, Virginia
Filed under: Sports, Minnesota

Ah, what a day.

Just read that Torii Hunter has filed for free agency.

The Twins have 15 days of exclusive negotiating rights with Torii but we all know that Carl Pohlad is too cheap to cough up the bucks necessary to sign him.

By the middle of November we’ll be able to add Torii to this list of superstar athletes that escaped Minnesota:

  • Randy Moss
  • Kevin Garnett
  • David Ortiz
  • Fran Tarkenton (but we got him back)
  • Rod Carew