Sis, boom, bah.

And what’s the use of having a personal website at all if you can’t throw its awesome power around to benefit your friends? Mark the Shark called Saturday; his daughter, Leah, said she’s thinking of taking a second job.

"I figured she’d be working at Wal-Mart," he said. No, she told him, something else.

She’s trying out to be an Indianapolis Colts cheerleader.

What’s more, she made the semi-final cut.

This doesn’t surprise me, as Leah is a lovely young woman who would seem to be exactly what the Colts would be looking for, with solid cheerleading experience (South Side High School) to boot. She’s a physical therapist — wasn’t that what Trista the Bachelorette, the former Miami Heat cheerleader was? — and she needs both the money and the Gold’s Gym membership that’s part of the compensation package. What did surprise me are some of the details from the interview process, including the baffling question, "Would you be willing to change your appearance if you got this job?" Leah said, it depends.

You’re thinking…breast implants? A nose job? Mandatory tanning? No. Turns out they may want her to become a brunette. Their market research shows brunettes are an unexploited resource in NFL cheerleading, or something like that.

This was really funny, because Leah’s a great, natural blonde, and usually it goes the other way, doesn’t it? "In all my life I don’t think I’ve ever seen a brunette with blonde roots," I told Mark. "But I’ll look forward to seeing my first."

But first Leah has to get the job, and that’s where you guys come in. Go to the Colts website and vote for her — you’ll have to scroll down a bit; they’re in alphabetical order. I don’t think that’s the greatest picture of her, but trust me, she’s certainly qualified, looks-wise, even if she becomes a brunette. Y’all can pick your own second and third choices.

This is probably only interesting to web-heads, journalists and those interested in the intersection of the two, but maybe not. The Columbus Dispatch, my alma mater, is experimenting with something sort of cool, an electronic edition that displays the paper to you exactly the way it would look if you were reading it in dead-tree form. You move forward and backward page by page, or click on section front pages in a left-hand rail. Clicking on a story opens it in a separate window, so you can read it easily. And it’s all searchable, ads included. Very cool.

I hope that link takes you there, because another thing the Dispatch is experimenting with is charging for content. As far as I know, it’s one of only a bare handful of metro dailies doing so; it costs around $5 a month. They have a system where paid subscribers can get up to three online accounts — for kids away at college, for instance — and I get mine through my sister’s subscription. If they don’t have an extended free trial for this, they should, because this could turn out to be fairly revolutionary. With my four-year-old Mac and broadband connection, it all loaded quickly and easily, and solves the ad problem. As many people read newspapers for the ads as the news content, especially on Sundays, and this makes it really easy to see them. Local advertising is less important to out-of-towners, but as someone who travels there frequently, I for one will use this feature, to find out when the stores I like are having clearance sales, and what-have-you.

The Big D can be a maddening paper, both to work for and to read, but I will give it this: They’ve never stinted on technology, and they’ve always been willing to experiment with it. They were one of the first papers available online — back in the days of Compuserve and 1200-baud modems — and I don’t think they’ve ever been given much credit for being forward-thinking in this area, despite outpacing many other papers that breast-beat endlessly on the subject (and shall remain nameless). So I’ll give it to them now.

We had a beautiful weekend, but I’m not going to express any gratitude for it, because by this time of year it’s our due, goddammit, and it wasn’t even all that warm. Nevertheless, I took extra-long bike rides both days, enough to exhaust me so that when I came home and contemplated how filthy our windows are, I didn’t have enough energy to do anything about them. (That’s the purpose of exercise, if you ask me.) Today, I circumnavigated poor, dead Southtown Mall, and discovered it’s still good for something — a single gentleman was having a riot of a time running a remote-controlled car all over the place without fear of running into anything other than an early-growing weed.

I’ve stopped watching the war on TV. The looting of museums sickens me, and as for the rest of it, well, print’s doing a better job. In that linked story, American soldiers make fun of Saddam’s interior decorating, which apparently is right out of the ’70s fly-dude love shack school:

One of the airbrushed paintings depicted a topless blonde woman, with a green demon behind her, pointing a finger at a mythic hero. From the tip of her finger came a giant serpent, which had wrapped itself around the warrior.

Another showed a buxom woman chained to a barren desert mountain ledge, with a huge dragon diving down to kill her with sharpened talons.

The home’s 1960s look, parodied in the series of "Austin Powers" spy spoofs, inspired a round of imitations from soldiers.

"Yeah, baaabeee," said Carter, doing his best imitation of actor Mike Myers’ character.

"Shagadelic," another soldier shouted.

Don’t they know class warfare — and, presumably, ridicule — is wrong and un-American?

Finally, Alex writes with one of those Ah-Modern-Life situations that we all have to cope with now and again. Evidently an older female friend of his told him, in a drunken fit of confession, that she always wanted a vibrator. With her birthday coming up, Alex made a note and then made the purchase. She lives in Florida, so FedEx was involved. And guess what?

The thing went off inside the box while I was at the Fed Ex place. Thank God this was in Boys Town (Alex’s gay neighborhood in Chicago). I can’t imagine the embarrassment of having to rewrap the thing in front of the customers and Fed Ex employees in a place like Fort Wayne. Everyone here was having a delightful time with it and they made sure I taped down the on/off switch lest the thing end up closing down an airport somewhere.

Make the note: Tape down the on/off switch. (Or send batteries separately.) See you tomorrow.

Posted at 1:29 pm in Uncategorized |

One response to “Sis, boom, bah.”

  1. laura preble said on December 15, 2004 at 4:15 pm

    I’m a high school teacher, and someone turned ina column that reads suspiciously like your stuff. Did you ever write a humor column that begins “What is baseball? The word itself conjures up visions of a bright green field of grass with white lines painted down the sides.” Sound familiar? It’s about a sister who is brunette with blonde roots.

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