Checking in with the tremendous, very, very great latest batch of thoughts from Random Island...

    Checking in with the tremendous, very, very great latest batch of thoughts from Random Island...

    • I came across a dead mouse in our driveway the other day. It was laying on its side, completely intact and showing no external injuries of any kind. You'd have sworn it was just taking a nap. But it had most certainly passed on, and I am now officially obsessed with finding out what led to the little guy’s demise. I mean, how often are you just starting a day like any other typical day, walking to your truck in your driveway to head off to another grind at work, and you almost step on a dead mouse? Did it die of rodent old age? And, if so, how old is that? 18 months or so? Obsessed, indeed!

    • This just in from either the I'm-getting-really-old files or the they're-really-young files: I was interviewing a sports editor applicant over some food at Drafts one recent evening, and on some of the TVs mounted on the wall were stories about the O.J. Simpson parole hearing that was scheduled for the next day. The theme of the stories had something to do with America still being captivated by Simpson and how the hearing was going to be aired live and that millions of viewers would likely tune in. "You couldn't pay me to watch that," I told the sports editor applicant.

    He had kind of a blank look on his face as he made his way through his Lone Star Burger. "What's that about?" he wondered.

    A bit perplexed, I mentioned the white Bronco and the slow-speed chase. Al Cowlings? Brentwood? But he just sat there, eating fries and looking disconnected. So I continued with my trip down memory lane...Marcia Clarke. Johnnie Cochran. Judge Ito. Chris Darden. O.J.'s wife, Nicole, whom he was charged with murdering, along with Ron Goldman. Cato. If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit, etc.

    Still, nothing. So I told him about my girlfriend (now wife) and I grabbing some pizza and beers at I.C. Muggs that crazy night in 1994, and the TV network leaving a game from the NBA Finals to broadcast live the slow-speed chase and the white Ford Bronco with O.J. in the back seat.

    Finally, I could almost see a little light bulb go on above the guy's head. "I was born in 1994," he said. Then, as I tried to muffle a not-quite-minor choke on a bite of a sweet Thai chili chicken wing, the sports editor applicant added, "Didn't that guy play football or something?”

    • I was putting a load of laundry in the washing machine the other day and, while sorting a basket full of clothes, I came across three pairs of my wife’s jeans. All were different brands and were of varying styles. As I went through her pockets to make sure I wasn’t going to accidentally launder any money or other items of significance, I was struck by the microscopic size of the pockets. And I have tiny hands. Why even bother? We’re talking zero functionality. You couldn’t even squeeze a Tic-Tac in there.

    • The PGA’s Greenbrier Classic tournament took place a few weeks ago. So, naturally, during the four days of TV coverage, several commercials promoting the Greenbrier Resort community in the mountains of West Virginia aired, with most of them featuring iconic PGA golfer Phil Mickelson. In one commercial, Phil says he and his family fell in love with the Greenbrier after a single visit, so they bought property there and built a home.

    Greenbrier touts itself as “America’s resort since 1778” but in the commercial it claims it offers, “Life as few know it.” If you don’t think that’s a big finger in the eye of the 99 percenters, consider the fact that the first fun activity available at the Greenbrier that Mickelson mentions in the commercial is falconry. Falconry!

    • Another “Shark Week” recently wrapped up on The Discovery Channel, and as you can probably surmise, it featured a week of essentially wall-to-wall shows about sharks.

    Back when we lived in Minneapolis, life for us and our roommates essentially came to a standstill during Shark Week, so I was sort of pleased to see our sons being so stoked as the recent Shark Week approached.

    But what a disappointment. Today’s “Shark Week” might as well be recast as, “Scientists and Other People Reacting and Overreacting to the Sight of Sharks” or “Humans Talking Endlessly about Sharks They’ve Seen or Been Attacked By.” They actually aired, repeatedly, a show featuring swimming legend Michael Phelps racing a mechanical shark in a pool. The human lost. Big whoop.

    The other day, we came across a show on the National Geographic channel called “Amazing Predators” or something similar. During the portion of the show dedicated to the prowess for savagery celebrated by massive great whites, for 20 minutes we were treated to oodles of bloody ocean water, sharks tearing other marine life to shreds and gulping it down in huge fleshy chunks.

    “See! That’s all I wanted!” our oldest son said.

    “Blood and guts, son,” I said. “That’s all anyone wants.”