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He related to everyone and everything as if they were mature adults. As this was pretty much impossible, he was fairly unsuccessful. Not everything, after all, is a mature adult. Dogs and cats, for example, to say nothing of children, or for that matter cars. Cars, especially.

He wanted to have rational, and as much as possible non-emotional, discourse with the world around him. So with precocious (which it goes without saying and is a totally different story altogether) children, he did quite alright, at least until the child decided that he was tired of being grown-up after all and just wanted his blankie. Cars that worked, too, were no problem, but don’t get me started on that. Dogs that could shake hands and keep their opinions to themselves were okay in his book, but otherwise not much good having around. You couldn’t very well have a chat with Rover about the situation in the Middle East or even the state of the Dodgers’ pitching staff.

That ability to at least temporarily put oneself into the mind of another that we call empathy was, to put it shortly, decidedly lacking.

1. The use of the term “partner” to refer to both heterosexual and same-sex relationships, to say nothing of business relationships. Oh, your partner Hilary and you went to a sales conference? Is that your husband or wife or office-mate?

2. Giving pets human names: Norman, Dora, Henry, Gertrude. What happened to old favourites like Spot, Fluffy, Spanky and the like? Last night I witnessed a man running down the street, calling out desperately “Betsy!” and I didn’t know if he was looking for a child, a dog, or a ferret. At least, for the most part, the human names are ones no one ever gives a person these days… but that could just mean that he was looking for a wayward nonagenarian.

3. Giving children names with (what you imagine to be) unique spellings. It’s not the name that makes someone unique–it’s the person and how they live their life. Ashley, Ashleigh, Ash-Lee, etc.: you’re going to meet someone with your exact name, as assuredly as I will. For me, it’ll be a little anecdote, the start of a conversation, an odd coincidence. For you, it’ll be a wreck, a blow to your ego from which you’ll never recover, as you realize you’re not quite the precious one-of-a-kind snowflake your parents always said that you were.

Josh HamiltonFormer MVP Josh Hamilton is having a difficult first year with the Los Angeles Angels, with whom he signed a 5-year contract in the offseason. The power-hitting outfielder isn’t hitting for power and is striking out at a much higher pace than ever before. The team, featuring perennial All-Star Albert Pujols and rising talent Mike Trout, and expected to challenge for the American League West crown, has tried moving Hamilton to other spots in the batting order, and has now given him a day off to “clear the cobwebs” and regroup, but nothing has helped his struggles. His manager, Mike Scioscia, is confident that Hamilton will sort things out, saying “I think he just needs to exhale a little bit. Maybe just take that step backwards to get to his goal of swinging the bat the way he can quicker.”

For his part, Hamilton thinks he has the answer, even if no one else wants to come out and say it: cocaine or, at the very least, marijuana or alcohol. “Look, I know Mike [Scioscia] is a great manager–a real players’ manager–with a lot of experience, but I think I know my body pretty well, and what my body needs is drugs. I’ve tried to fight it for years, to the point where I thought abstinence was the way to go… and even when I had relapses I was convinced that with the love and support of those around me I could kick the habit.”

Hamilton, who was banned from baseball during his minor league days and saw his Major League career delayed, has become a poster child for the evils of drugs, and a strong proponent of just saying “no.”  He has credited his family, friends, and his faith for turning his life around. But now he’s calling all of that into question. “I used to think that God had a plan for me, and that was to stay clean, be a role model, and live to praise Him. But I’ve started to see things a little differently. Don’t get me wrong–I still live to praise God–it’s just that part about ‘clean’ that I’m not sure about… I’ve been seeing signs telling me to loosen up a bit. Like when people tell me I need to ‘take a step backwards’… that’s a hint, right? And when they say I need to ‘exhale’ they really mean ‘inhale’ I think, like with marijuana.”

He also says that the reason for his struggles may be that he’s seeing a lot of off-speed pitches–the second most in the Majors–but wants to “give the cocaine a try first.”

Chili Vanilli

Ma-doner Kebabs

Toni Basil Pesto Chicken Salad

Honeymoon Sweet ‘n Sour Pork

INXSalad with Midnight Oil and Vinegar Dressing

Glass Tiger Shrimp

 

for dessert

Bananaramekin

 

and from the bar

The Debbie Gibson Martini

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