Another Opening Day

Another spring, another opening day. After 2 weeks of snow & rainouts the Fish Eater Athletic League is officially opening the 2013 Baseball Season. Sure we’ve got a pond full of standing water in right field, but it’s now or never. If we don’t start playing now there’s no way we can wrap things up before Memorial Day.

As the hours tick down towards the first pitch, hope springs eternal. We have been practicing indoors for a month now. We’ve gone through every conceivable fielding and hitting drill that can be executed on a gym floor or in a parking lot, but this afternoon we will finally find out what kind of a ball club we’ve got at Our Lady of the Subdural Hematoma. Will this be our year to hoist the Ceremonial Monstrance as CAA Champs?

1914 series shibe park

Won’t be long now!

I’m getting close! Oh, so close to releasing the book. After multiple last second corrections by my lovely and talented editor I have finished formatting the book, and uploaded it into the publishing software. The cover design is also complete, along with the back cover “blurb”, and author photo. (BTW-Anyone good at photoshop? Please email me)

The proof should be arriving in the next week. If everything looks good, it could be released as early as next weekend. To everyone who has prodded, cajoled and encouraged me to see this through to completion, you have no one to blame but yourselves.

Here is the cover… “Thomas Gahr” is my pen name. My real name of course is Mr. 20 Prospect.



We did it! We survived another winter. Winter’s back has been broken and the Greenland blocking high pressure has finally collapsed!011110_greenlandblock

(Being Minnesotan qualifies me as an Amateur Meteorologist.)

We are set to hit 70+ degrees for the next 4 days. What does this mean?

1.) Prepare for the always startling sight of pasty white exposed flesh. As much a sign of spring in these parts as the first Robin.

2.) Throw open the windows and let out 6 months of stale, germ infested air. (If you live down wind of Minnesota, this is your warning to stay inside the next few days)

3.) Every bike path and sidewalk in the city will be overflowing with barely dressed citizens. (See Item #1)

4.) Get to the liquor store early tonight. Stock up on beer, and wine because it’s time to celebrate.

5.) Light the grills!!!! OK, we grill out year ’round, even in subzero weather, but this weekend it is an official state law that we are only allowed to eat meat cooked outdoors over an open flame.  This is also a warning to those living downwind. (See Item #2)

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go climb the nearest tree, and sing my fool head off like the Cardinals.


The lowest common denominator

Well interwebz, it’s been quite a week. A week so tragic and eventful that I was stunned into silence. So if you have been stopping by the front porch looking for a little distraction, I apologize.

There is just so much that I could say about the events that occurred that I wouldn’t know where to begin. But out of respect for the victims and all those suffering I will say just this:

As much as the hateful work of a few individuals may have shaken my faith in humanity on Monday afternoon, it pales in comparison to the way that the ensuing 5 days of internet comments, Tweets, blog posts, Op Ed columns, cable news coverage, newspapers, and supposed journalism has shaken it. So if you are as disgusted as I am in the general behavior of society in the past week, join me in turning off the computer, and hugging a loved one. In the end, that is all that matters.



Curl up and die

There is something about living in a Northern climate that makes one prone to odd, self destructive behavior involving alcohol. Spend enough time snowbound inside your house, and you start seeing things. Just ask Jack…


Thankfully we live in a Northern Suburb of Minneapolis, and not at the Overlook Hotel. Although the recent return of winter is now taxing our limits of sanity. So on Saturday night, Mrs. 20 Prospect and I joined a group of 20 some parents from Our Lady of the Subdural Hemotoma for a night of curling.


What is curling you ask? Why just the greatest sport ever invented by drunk Scotsmen! (Sorry golf, get over it). The rules are fairly straightforward, and once you’ve got a couple of drinks under your belt they even start to make sense. Basically it involves sliding a 40 lb stone across a sheet of ice, to try to place it in a target, while a couple of broom wielding teammates try to control its speed and direction.

For a sport invented by drunks it requires an incredible amount of balance. Unfortunately Mrs. 20 Prospect found that out the hard way by falling and hitting her head on the ice not once, but twice. (It’s not a coincidence we decided to send our children to Our Lady of the Subdural Hemotoma.)


While you are on the ice flailing about with brooms and dodging rocks, spectators sit behind a window in the warmth of the bar laughing at you. Seriously.


Despite the head injury, we had a great time. In fact it was so much fun that we are planning to sign up for the Instructional League to pursue our new found curling dreams. And why not? At 44 years old this is my absolute last chance to make it to the winter Olympics.

More importantly, it will give me an excuse to wear a curling sweater to the bar.


The Dude would approve.


All work and no play makes Mr. 20 Prospect a dull boy

Holy krep, where the hell did this week go? Jeepers this one really got away from me. I apologize for the lack of postings. I’ve been lax in my duties to feed the gaping maw of the internet with useless content. Forgive me.

My Dark Corporate Overlords took up way too much of my time. Honestly, how can they expect me to put in 20 hours of work in one week? Don’t they know it’s criminal, and inhumane to make us work in such conditions? I’m an artist damnit! Leave me be!!!

I also started back to teaching again last week, and have been busy destroying the American Higher Education system from the inside out. Which, believe it or not, is a lot harder than it sounds.

Then there is the 6th grade boys baseball team from Our Lady of the Subdural Hemotoma that I am coaching. Although I can’t complain. The boys are all 12 and by now have figured out the basics of the game. For the most part they can throw, catch, and hit, which makes life much easier this year.

And finally… The Book. Yes, I’m still working on cleaning up the very last few final edits, before I send it to my lovely and talented editor for a final, final, review. Then it’s off to Createspace to publish the thing and begin my marketing campaign for worldwide domination. Mwahahahahahahahaha!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So what am I doing here? Slacking as usual.

Like this post or you’re a cotton headed ninny muggins

Dear Interwebz,

We need to talk. Lately there’s been some sophomoric behavior  going on around the inter tubes that I would normally just ignore. However, it has become apparent to me that this behavior is not going away, but seems in fact to be increasing in frequency. Specifically I am referring to the Book of Faces.

It is a well established fact that the maturity level of the internet is roughly equivalent to that of a Junior High School student. However, as a parent of 6th and 7th graders I must admit that I expect better out of them than some of the behavior I have witnessed on Facebook lately.

This is not the first time that such behavior has become rampant on the interweb. I think we can all remember the early ought’s when the initial euphoria of being able to send “electronic mail” to friends, family, and co-workers resulted in a deluge of requests from Nigerian Princes, disgruntled Neiman Marcus Cookie Eaters, and hopeful Bill Gates email forwarders. I had hoped we had outgrown that sort of conduct. Yet daily I am deluged with requests like this…


or this…

Support our brave men and women who protect our freedom by clicking like on this post. Otherwise you are a god-damned commie pinko and I will unfriend you.

Support our brave men and women who protect our freedom by clicking like on this post. Otherwise you are a god-damned commie pinko and I will unfriend you.

or sadly, even this…

Little Timmy was born without a head. His dying wish is to get 1,000,000 likes on facebook. Please post this on your timeline, or you are cruel and heartless bastard and i will unfriend you.

Little Timmy was born without a head. His dying wish is to get 1,000,000 likes on facebook. Please post this on your timeline, or you are cruel and heartless bastard and i will unfriend you.

Now before you get your undies in a bunch, please let me clarify that I do not wish for our brave troops to get cancer, or my child to be born without a head. That is not the point. The point is you are all driving me freaking nuts with this stupid crap.

Now cut it out, or I am going to unfriend you.

An ode to Lee Iacocca

There are certain sights in life that are recognized omens of good luck no matter what culture you live in. A penny on the ground, a red sunset, and the arrival of the first Robin come to mind. This morning I saw such a sign on my drive to work. Heading down 35W through downtown Minneapolis I came upon a sight that can only be a harbinger of good luck. I saw a creature more rare than the Eastern Mountain Lion, but nearly as awe inspiring. A light blue early 80’s Dodge Omni.

1111dodge omni

Like the American Bison these cars once roamed the roads of North America in great herds before nearly succumbing to extinction. I don’t think I’ve seen one in the ten + years since Mrs. 20 Prospect’s grandpa passed away. Grandpa lived in the woods outside Spooner Wisconsin, and drove that car to the corner café and back well into his 90’s. Even back then it was a rare sight. One of the first attempts by Detroit to make a fuel efficient, lightweight compact car they weren’t exactly built to last. Put too much salt on your fries at the McDonald’s drive through and your car was in danger of rusting out before you finished your Big Mac.

It’s hard to imagine a more iconic auto from my teen years. Whenever I see one of those things I am transported back to the dark malaise of the late 70’s, and such cheery events as the Iranian Hostage Crisis, Three Mile Island, and Love Canal. Nothing said austerity like a Chrysler Compact car. I’m not certain but I believe Jimmy Carter actually drove one. While the 20Prospect clan never owned an Omni, we did pick up a used 1983 Plymouth Turismo in the late 80’s for Dad to drive to and from work. The Turismo was just a sportier looking version of the Omni, with a coupe body. Man I loved that car with it’s “sporty” rear window louver.


As my friends and I entered our own years of college tuition induced austerity in the late 80’s, these cheaply built American compact cars became as much a part of college life as empty milk crates, rugby shirts, and Spud McKenzie posters. Everyone had one. Chris had his family’s old K-car which he somehow managed to keep running through the duration of his Doctorate program at the U of M.


My roommate Scott had a white Pontiac “J” car.


Even my lovely wife had an Oldsmobile Omega that may just have been the least reliable car ever built.


only rivaled in futility by the Chevy Citation. A car that was aptly named after a traffic violation.


Most of these tin cans were long since defunct by the turn of the millennium, and by then we had moved on to better built, and more reliable means of transportation. Like bicycles. But there’s a part of me that will always be nostalgic for these relics of my youth. I wonder why Gen X’ers haven’t begun restoring these things the way that Boomer’s rebuild their 57 Chevy’s? Perhaps we’re a less nostalgic bunch. More likely there just aren’t any left to restore. Or maybe we just took Lee up on his offer… “If you can find a better car. Buy it!”

No friends, putting nostalgia aside, there are several things that I think we can all admit are better today than they were then. Beer, cars, and sex. Not necessarily in that order, but still among the most holy trinity of pursuits.

I am a Consumer! Bow Down Before Me!!!!!

God what a glorious day! Granted it’s only 45 degrees outside, but the sun is shining and it feels like midsummer. Coming back from picking up lunch with the radio on and the windows down felt wonderful. Now I sit at my desk, sipping on my Diet Coke, and munching on my sub thankful that I live in a state where we still have the freedom to drink gallons of sugary beverages without fear of prosecution.

Not to get political, but WTF NYC? Banning supersize soft drinks to protect us from the scourge of beverage gluttony? Can’t you find something better to do with your time? If you really want to clean up NYC, ban fixies, and hipsters. If you’re more focused on straightening out the U.S. fast food industry, tackle the tyranny of Sub Sandwich service.

No seriously, I mean it. Our founding fathers did not birth this great nation so that we had to stand in line at Subway for 15 minutes having an intimate dialogue with a sandwich artist just to get a god-damned sandwich. I think the real reason that Jared lost all that weight was the hours he spent holding marathon conversations about toppings and condiments. Why in this day and age of technological innovation must I still have social contact with human beings in order to eat?

Jimmy John’s and their freaky fast annoying commercials are no better. Sure, they can slap an assembly line sandwich together in 15 seconds allowing you to order by monosyllabic numbers, but MUST THEY PLAY THAT MUSIC SO LOUD!!!! What the hell is up with those damn kids and their rock and roll? I just want to get a god damned sandwich, not be assaulted like the Viet Cong in the Ride of the Valkyries scene in Apocalypse Now.

And stop shouting at me like Norm from Cheers when I walk in the door. Honestly, when is someone going to bring back the Automat!!!!!


Everything falls apart

There are days when the kids ask me to help them with their 6th grade Math homework, that I am puzzled at how I ever managed to graduate with a Mechanical Engineering degree. If long division is a struggle for me now, derivatives, and differential equations may as well be hieroglyphics scrawled across a page. No, my engineering degree is a testament to the elasticity of the human brain. Stretch it often enough in any one direction and you can expand its volume. Let it sit still and it will shrivel until it is the size and shape of a raisin.

It amazes me that once upon a time my brain was more trained in the complexities of science, and mathematical logic, than it was intuition and cognition. How could it have been so different? Did the fact that my neurons flowed through other portions of my brain effect my personality, or change the core of who I am? These are the questions that keep me up at night.

I should have seen it coming. The indications were there even during the height of my engineering studies. The clues were written in my textbook:

“Like all other physical laws used in classical thermodynamics, the second law cannot be proved but is a statement of observed phenomena.” – Howell & Buckius, Fundamentals of Engineering Thermodynamics, (1987) pg. 183

I can remember the effect that the 2nd law of thermodynamics had upon me at the time. I began to realize the presence of entropy all around me, yet it took me another 2 years to come to a full understanding of them.

Science is the application of mathematical logic to explain the way that the world operates. Every equation we learned for determining strength, stress, or motion included a small fudge factor to account for losses & friction. The problems we were given to solve required us to ignore the world around the problem, and focus on an arbitrary ideal system.

But no system is ideal, no process is completely reversible. The world is non-linear.

By the end of my senior year I was pointing it out to class mates with incredulity. “This is bullshit. You cannot leave out the effects of friction and losses on these problems. You cannot isolate a system from the world around it for the simplification of calculating an answer.”

They looked at me and shrugged.

But I knew the hollowness of it all. Logic could only approximate what actually happened around us. Reality often defies logic. We become so conditioned to ignoring the effects of chaos and loss that we block out their presence in our life, and pretend they do not exist. And when we are faced with events that do not fit into our neat definition of the world, we kick and cry like spoiled children.

Not fair! Not fair!

Life is not fair. Human behavior is not completely predictable. We are constantly choosing to do things that we know are illogical, that we know will lead to results that are not in our own best interest.

Emotion is not logic.

Love is not beholden to mathematics.No equation can determine when and why a lover will sacrifice themselves for another.

So I learned to not ignore intuition. We need it as much as reason and logic to function in this world.

This is why there are two halves to our brains.

This is what makes us human.

In the end, everything