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UNCLE HERMAN'S MYSTERY HAIR!

Oh, some 16 or 17 years ago I took my wife, Sandy, over to my Aunt (Tante Hannelore) and Uncle's (Onkel Herman) house for a nice dinner. My cousin, Bob, and his wife, Andrea, were also there. As the beer and wine flowed--along with the conversation--there came a point when my uncle suddenly exhorted us with a tale of a mysterious 4 inch hair that sprouted out from his neck while he slept one night a few days earlier! As prodigious amounts of alcoholic beverages had-- henceforth, prior to the telling of this tale--been consumed, his story was met with some skepticism by the lot of us. My cousin Bob actually went as far as to tell my uncle the story was getting a "bit thick" and that maybe he ought to lay off the Brandy Manhattans for awhile. My uncle, in his extremely thick Estonian accent, protested quite loudly! He insisted that the story was true! A 4 inch hair grew from his neck in just one night's time!

Well, we all just kind of humored him after that and enjoyed our meal. He was, after all, a man in the thick of his golden years and quite intoxicated to boot. If his memory was a bit altered that was to be expected.

Fast forward 17 years.

So, I'm getting ready for bed the other night (I bet you can see where this is going, can't you?) and I catch a brief glimpse of light as it catches a reflection off of a very fine strand of blonde hair. The hair appears to have stuck itself to my chin or neck area. I am in the middle of brushing my teeth so I just quickly brush at it. It remains. I immediately think "NO WAY!" and summarily finish my brushing, excited at the prospect of what I THINK I have just discovered!

Nervously and anxiously the memories of that dinner with my uncle come flooding back quickly now as I hurriedly rinse, spit and then carefully dry my mouth area--conscientious not to get anywhere near the hair I just spotted!

Could it be?! I wondered. Could it possibly be?!

So, carefully I approach the large mirror in our bathroom, my heart pounding now in my chest (not really but it adds to the story, doesn't it?). The light is good in here, the dark brown colored walls a nice contrast in the background to spot the lone blonde hair.

There it is! One lone, long strand of thin--very thin--blonde hair sticking out of the left side of my neck just a couple inches from the throat area.It's approximately 2 inches in length, not quite the 4 inches my uncle claimed but lengthy for a lone hair in this location nonetheless. I gently grabbed the hair and tugged softly. The skin of my neck puckered outward as I tugged! My God it was attached! But I had to be certain! It could have just been stuck there by some dried saliva or a spot of mucus after all. So I tugged again this time a little bit harder. The skin puckered out again but this time even more! It was! It was attached, there was no doubt.

I stood up now excited about the discovery. Bewildered by this fascinating development. How could a hair grow so quickly I wondered? And I had just shaved that morning. It could not have possibly been missed! No way! And even had it somehow been miraculously missed that morning what about the mornings prior? The WEEKS prior?! The human hair--from what I understand--grows at about the rate of 1/8th of an inch per week. This would mean that my lone hair would have taken about 16 weeks to grow on my neck and avoided at least 64 shavings! I don't think so. And I'm pretty observant when it comes to my personal grooming, giving myself the "once over" every morning and evening in the mirror. If I can always spot those pesky little ear hairs that have been popping up with some frequency the past several years then surely I would have spotted this puppy a lot sooner.

So there was only one possible conclusion to draw from all of this as I stared at my mysterious lone, long blonde neck hair...Just like my Uncle Herman, I sprouted this bad boy in a matter of mere hours. A "Super-Hair" if you will.

I shook my head in amazement, a small smile on my face, as I continued gently tugging and stroking the hair. Fond memories of my uncle swirling in my brain. Uncle Herman's "crazy claim" now vindicated.

And, with no one else still awake in my house to show my wondrous discovery I gave it a firm tug and plucked it from my neck. So thin was the hair that I barely felt any resistance. I held it close before my eyes guaging its length and thickness. Perhaps the "thinness" of it (easily half a normal hair) made the super-growth possible, I postulated.

Staring at it in wonder for a few more seconds I finally discarded the "super-hair" into the toilet and went to bed. I woke up Sandy to tell her all about it though first.

And now I have to call my cousin Bob and tell him his dad wasn't nuts. I'll make sure to call him when I'm not drunk.

Word.

R

CHECK OUT THIS SHIZNIT!!!

Hey all!

As some of you may know I've been writing for Marvel Comics for the past few months in their new MARVEL COMICS PRESENTS anthology. I'm writing the "Weapon Omega" storyline featuring the new Guardian character! YES!!!! Anyways, I was informed a month or so back that my artist, Andrea DiVito, could no longer continue on the book and would be exiting as of issue 8. I was bummed, saddened and inconsolable. Then John Barber (editor) went on to explain that he'd found this "new guy" (a relative newcomer anyway) to take over named Marco Checchetto (another Italian dude). I was like, "Okay, I guess." What could I say, really? It was out of my hands. John said he'd be sending over some samples of Marco's work for me to peruse. I was like, "Sure...okay (i.e. whatever)."

So I waited for the jpeg samples.

Then I got them.

My worries soon evaporated (And I'm sure you can see why from the image I've just posted).

I'll still miss Andrea, don't get me wrong. He's fantastic! Love the guy. But Marco's stuff is just as good in it's own right. I'm not getting the middle relief pitcher here guys, I'm getting the saver in the ninth inning after my starter pitched 8 quality innings!

Word!

R

BRETT FAVRE AND ME PT II

I was shocked. After the fantastic season and juuuust falling short of making the SuperBowl and ending his season with an interception, I was shocked to hear that Brett Favre was retiring. Had he made this announcement last year I don't think many people would have been surprised. This year?...I think 99% of Packer Nation was stunned speechless.

But, when you think about it it fits, doesn't it? I mean, after all, this is what Brett's been doing his whole career...shocking and stunning us with the unexpected. That's what we love about him more than his obvious physical attributes. His ability to keep us on the edge of our seats. Love his "gunslinging" style or not you have to admit he always kept it exciting.

So, no...in retrospect none of us should have been shocked at all...it's just typical Favre and I love it!

I could cite all the records and accomplishments here and tell you all why he was so great but we've all heard that before and have been reminded of it all this week. So I'm going to just assume you all already know all of that and comment specifically about one particular comment he made at his press conference that really struck me. That hit me even harder than the news of his retirement. In his press conference yesterday (which I thought was great. No notes just shooting straight from the hip) he said one particular thing that made me, once again, realize why I personally connected with this guy. We all love him because he's an "everyman' right? someone we all feel we could hang with and knock back a few beers with. The athlete with no ego who dresses in jeans and flip-flops and isn't afraid to say what he feels and show us he's human by shedding the occasional tear. And when he cried we all cried with him (if you didn't, I'm sorry, but you have no soul). But he's also a lot more cerebral than I think most people give him credit for. I think a lot of people see his carefree, huckleberry attitude and miss the fact that this guy has one heckuva head on his shoulders. He commented that the night before his press conference he watched some of the tributes the many and varied stations were showing. The old footage of his career and life and that watching this he understood what death felt like. The reporters laughed at first and he chuckled softly with them but he was serious. He meant it. You could see it in his eyes and you could see that the realization really affected him. Once again he showed us that he was, indeed, human. And when he made that comment my heart skipped a beat. It skipped a beat because I watched those very same tributes the night before and had the same exact feeling.

"What the hell do you mean, Rich? It wasn't your friggin' highlight reel they showed you idiot?" Right? Is that what you're saying right now? No, it wasn't my highlight reel. But watching it reminds me that I'm getting older with Brett. We're both in that same age bracket--I'm actually a couple years his senior (which makes it more depressing)--and for the last 16 years I've watched him every week under center during the football season. He's become a part of my life. A constant. And his retirement reminds me that a chapter has closed not only in his life but in mine as well. Time is moving on and there's nothing he can do about it and there's nothing I can do about it. We're one step closer to that final, inevitable, chapter.

I know this sounds rather ominous but you can't help but realize it. He realized as did I. It's sad and it's frightening. We all want to live forever and when a guy like Brett Favre comes along and is there every season, every week, every game, whether he's hurt or his father just passed away, whatever the situation, he's always there! It gives you a sense of immortality. Especially when he's the same age as you. You see him running around like a young kid out there every game and it makes you feel young.

And then he hangs it up. He's had enough.

Reality sets in. You realize again that he's "your age." You realize that you're getting older too. So I connected with him when he said he knew what it felt like to be dead. A chapter has closed in his life as well as mine.

And that makes me very sad. I'm going to miss that friggin' hillbilly.

word.

r

CALIFORNIA TRIP!

Hello all,

Been a couple weeks since my last entry...sorry. Snuck away secretly on a little family vacation out to sunny California. First went to WonderCon in San Francisco (not so sunny). The con was great but we had to duck out a day early as little Stella was feeling rather ill. But that gave us a chance to check out the Napa Valley area a day early and it is spectacular! Loved it there...so beautiful and peaceful and has wine...lots o wine. Yum. We did a couple tours including Frog's Leap, an organic winery, which was fantastic! The wine and the tour. Check it out if you ever get the chance. Highly recommended. The entire Napa Valley area.

Then we headed to Yosemite Park where we almost lost our lives traveling through the mountains at night...can anyone say "white knuckle flight"? I guess we should've known when we approached the park's entrance and you saw the huge flashing signs saying "CHAINS ON TIRES REQUIRED!" and "PARK ROADS CLOSED BETWEEN 10 PM AND 6 AM" and the ranger station was unmanned with all kinds of additional warning signs peppering the windows. We paused there, looking ahead into the pitch-black forest ahead, the glow of the blinking warning sign the only light besides our headlights. We were...nervous. But Hell, it was 65 degrees out. Chains? What the hell? But Sandy and Stella were nervous and Stella got a little weepy, so I turned back to this hotel (RIGHT THERE by the entrance) to get an expert opinion. The place was dead...no guests. The lady there waved off the warnings but then quickly recanted but then assured me if we had 4 wheel drive we'd be okay...should be okay. So, head held high and mustering up my most confident brave face I told the girls we were okay and went headlong into the park!

65 degrees out and yet when you're up 5000 feet you get snow...a lot of snow...and the roads ain't plowed so much up there apparently. And what is plowed leaves 6-8 fot carved walls of snow on either side of you with areas that have caved down on the road! Then there's the areas that don't have these walls (which were actually nice because if you did slide off the road you were, at least, not going over the side) that when you look to the right you see the blackness...the abyss!!!the cliffs that fall into certain death! Kind of frightening. Kind of makes you ease off the accelerator and grip the steering wheel just a bit tighter (if that's even possible anymore). OH! and then you pass the semi tanker truck with not one but TWO fuel tankers fish-tailed off the side of the road and the rangers shoveling it out by hand. Nice. Stella was traumatized, the poor kid. But we're from Wisconsin for god's sake!...it was nuthin'!!! Woulda been nuthin' anyway, if not for the "plummeting to your death" factor. That certainly added a little stress element.

I was scared, I admit it.

Didn't help that when we finally hit the lodge--our salvation, our hope, the tears of relief running down my mental cheeks--they informed me they were fully booked and that the next place was another 1/2 hour drive ahead. Talk about feeling completely hopeless and hapless.

But we survived and the next day (in the daylight) at Yosemite was wonderful. Beautiful place. We saw deer, coyotes, a fox, a bobcat and some spectacular scenery of course.

Then we went on to Santa Cruz which is now, quite possibly, my favorite California city. Beautiful place. And my BB Wolf partner, Johnnie Arnold and his lovely wife Katie live there and run Comicopolis! with Johnnie's partner Troy. Great shop located right in the downtown area. Had a great time there and even had time for a poker game at Johnnie's house with his pal Jon "bean" Hastings and his wife Terry. Lost 25 bucks to those bastards but had alot of fun nonetheless.

Then onto LA where I met with my management company, Content House. Options still available on my properties people! Give 'em a call and pony up some dough and we're in bizness together. Let's make it happen.

Then onto sunny San Diego for the last three days of our trip where we wined and dined with friends, Gary "G" Sassaman and Batton Lash and Jackie Estrada. Also went to Sea World while there and loved it because the park was about 25% full...no lines at a major theme park! By the gods it was glorious!!!!

So now we're back in craptastic Wisconsin. Already had to friggin' shovel my sidewalk today.

Yep, "California here we come!"

Word!

R

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